Licorice is a flavorful herb that has been used for food and medicinal purposes for thousands of years to treat several illness from the common cold to liver disease. It grows wild in some parts of Europe and Asia and usually grows 3 to 7 feet high. Licorice roots are brown on the outside and yellow on the inside and contain a compound that is nearly 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice supplements are made from the roots and underground stems of the plant. Licorice candy that is commonly sold in stores is flavored with licorice root extract and is considered a healthier snack choice because it contains almost no fat per serving.
Licorice is considered a demulcent because of its soothing and coating properties. It is considered an expectorant because it can remove phlegm and mucous from the respiratory tract. It is commonly used by health care professionals to relieve respiratory ailments, allergies, bronchitis, colds, sore throat, tuberculosis, stomach problems, heartburn from reflux, inflammatory disorders, skin diseases, stress relief, hepatitis, and liver problems.