A member of the pea and bean family, Glycyrrhiza glabra is best known for its use in making liquorice-flavoured confectionery. It is cultivated for its rhizomes (underground stems) that contain the compound glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar.
Also well-known as a medicinal plant, G. glabra is used in the production of cough mixtures and throat lozenges, as well as an ingredient to mask the unpleasant taste of some medicines.
Used as an ingredient in cough mixtures and throat lozenges, Glycyrrhiza glabra has been used to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers, inflammatory stomach conditions and indigestion. It is also used to combat food poisoning in modern Chinese herbalism. Liquorice rhizomes can be chewed or made into tea, which with other anti-spasmodic herbs is often taken for menstrual cramps. Licorice is also used as filler in capsules and added to medicines as a sweetener to mask the unpleasant taste of other ingredients.
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