Did you know that licorice root makes more than candy? If you are turned off by the pungent flavor of traditional black licorice candy, you might be surprised how delicious- and healthful- the root can be. I’ve been brewing it at home to make a very sweet and flavorful herbal tea; it’s delicious solo or combined with other herbs like peppermint or fennel. See the recipe below for my new favorite iced summertime tisane.
Not only is licorice root totally sweet and delicious, it has a myriad of health benefits. Ready for the list- it’s long! According to many sources, licorice can be helpful for treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome like cramps, breast tenderness, and bloating. It can help regulate cholesterol by aiding elimination of excess cholesterol from the body and help with asthma issues. Licorice has has antiviral, anti-inflammatory benefits that can help with colds and flu viruses. It is a common ingredient of lozenges because of it acts as an expectorant to release mucus and germy things when we are sick; a naturopathic doctor once gave me a thick black paste to help with strep throat- and now I know why! Licorice root can be useful for many digestive issues as well. It is well known to help with stomach ulcers and with inflammation of the digestive tract; it can calm digestion, stimulate the kidneys and assist with adrenal hormones, and is often used as a natural laxative.
The sweetness in licorice is from the compound glycyrrhizin, which is apparently fifty times sweeter than sucrose. That explains why I like it so much!
Sweet Licorice Mint Tisane
4 cups filtered water
3 Tablespoons dried peppermint leaf
1 Tablespoon fennel seed
1 Tablespoon licorice root
- Boil one cup water (this saves energy!). Add all herbs to water and let steep 5-10 minutes. Drain herbs, add cool water to fill a quart jar. Store in fridge for up to a week.
- You can also make this hot, but decrease the herbs to 1 Tbsp peppermint, 1 tsp fennel and 1 tsp licorice root.
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