Liquorice

From Academic Kids

<tr><td>Ref: ILDIS Version 6.05 (http://www.ildis.org/)
Liquorice
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Fabales
Family:Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Tribe:Galegeae
Genus:Glycyrrhiza
Species

Glycyrrhiza acanthocarpa
Glycyrrhiza aspera
Glycyrrhiza astragalina
Glycyrrhiza bucharica
Glycyrrhiza echinata
Glycyrrhiza eurycarpa
Glycyrrhiza foetida
Glycyrrhiza glabra
Glycyrrhiza iconica
Glycyrrhiza korshinskyi
Glycyrrhiza lepidota
Glycyrrhiza pallidiflora
Glycyrrhiza sp.1 X.
Glycyrrhiza triphylla
Glycyrrhiza uralensis
Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis

Liquorice (Br.) or licorice (Am.) is the plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra, in the Family Fabaceae from which a sweet flavour can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a legume related to beans and peas and native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. Very little commercial liquorice is grown in North America, but wild liquorice (G. lepidota) is quite common.

Contents

Liquorice extract

Liquorice extract is produced by boiling liquorice root and subsequently evaporating most of the water (in fact, the word 'liquorice' is derived from the Ancient Greek words for 'sweet root'). Liquorice extract is traded both in solid and syrup form. Its active principle is glycyrrhizin, a sweetener more than 50 times as sweet as sucrose which also has pharmaceutical effects. Chinese liquorice (G. uralensis), which is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine, contains this chemical in much greater concentration.

Pharmaceutical effects

Liquorice extract is an effective cough remedy (expectorant), and has been used for this purpose since ancient times. Liquorice is also a mild laxative. Large doses of the glycyrrhizin in liquorice extract can lead to an increased blood pressure. This is due to effects of glycyrrhizin on the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (type 1).

Use as a flavorant

Liquorice flavor is found in a wide variety of liqourice candies. The most popular in the United Kingdom are very sweet Liquorice Allsorts. In continental Europe, however, far stronger, saltier, candies are preferred. It should be noted, though, that in most of these candies the taste is reinforced by aniseed oil, and the actual content of liquorice is quite low. Additionally, liquorice is found in some soft drinks, and is in some herbal teas where it provides a sweet aftertaste. The flavour is common in medicines to disguise unpleasant flavours.

See also

External links

fi:Lakritsikasvi fr:Réglisse ja:甘草 nl:Zoethout sv:Lakrits

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