The Glycyrrhiza genus a member of the Leguminosae household is a gaggle of some twenty species of sticky herbaceous perennial vegetation, writes Joanne Howdle.
The botanical has pinnate leaves, candy pea like flowers which vary in color from purple to pale blue and pink.
The genus identify comes from the Greek phrase glykys – which means candy and rhiza – which means root, which is why one of many widespread names for the botanical is ‘candy root’. Probably the most helpful species native to Asia Minor, Central and Southern Russia, and the Mediterranean is Glycyrrhiza glabra or liquorice.
The botanical has a root that may develop as much as 1.8 metres deep and rhizomes which unfold out from the plant. It’s these rhizomes which have been cultivated for millennia as they comprise the compound glycyrrhizin, which is 30–50 instances sweeter than sugar.
British Egyptologist Howard Carter (ninth Could 1874 – 2nd March 1939) found liquorice root within the tomb of 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun. While the Historical Greek geographer, historian, and author Herodotus upon encountering the cavalry of the Scythian Empire north of the Black Sea famous they may endure lengthy durations of thirst while campaigning by consuming liquorice root and ingesting mare’s milk.
Liquorice root has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anxiolytic, and expectorant properties, which might be why the botanical was blended in drinks by the Assyrians, historic Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to deal with a wide range of medical complaints.
The botanical can also be utilised in conventional Chinese language and Ayurveda drugs as a diuretic and laxative, and as a remedy for respiratory, eye and liver ailments, irritation, throat infections, gastric and peptic ulcers, and arthritis.
The antioxidant and anxiolytic properties of this botanical imply that’s utilized in fashionable drugs to deal with most cancers, and as an antidepressant. It is usually used to cut back blood levels of cholesterol and to deal with liver and renal problems. Wealthy in antioxidants liquorice is helpful for the pores and skin and is usually used to deal with itchy and infected pores and skin.
At the moment, we’re acquainted with sweets which have a liquorice flavour, but it surely wasn’t till across the thirteenth Century AD that liquorice root began to look in confectionery. Cluniac monks are stated to have found ‘liquorice’, a preferred drink within the Center East, throughout the navy crusades in Jerusalem. Liquorice arrived in England with Cluniac monks who grew the botanical of their medicinal herb backyard in Pontefract, Yorkshire.
After the dissolution of the monasteries the cultivation of liquorice grew to become widespread in West Yorkshire the place it was used as a sweetener in confectionery – therefore the invention of the candy generally known as Pontefract truffles. At the moment, liquorice root in its powdered type might be added to flour to organize truffles or recent pasta and utilized instantly onto meat or pasta dishes to present the recipe a bitter-sweet style. The botanical can also be used to flavour Jägermeister, Pastis, Sambuca, and Vermouth. In gin manufacture, liquorice root is used so as to add a pure sweetness with a salty undertone to the spirit. The botanical additionally provides a woody odor and style to gin. It’s utilized by distillers to present the spirit an oiliness, rising the viscosity of the gin.
– Joanne Howdle is interpretation and engagement supervisor on the multi-award-winning Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd.