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Licorice Root Tea – A Tea Lovers Primer

Love tea? If you do, it’s an excellent background flavor to enhance others.  It’s 50-times sweeter than sugar, but not with the subtle, overly sweet taste of many sweeteners today. You may be eating licorice and not even know that’s what it was.


Is Licorice Good For me?

The licorice plant arrived in North America in the 16th century with John Josselyn who carried it from England to Boston. He listed licorice as one of the “precious herbs” among his cargo. Previous to that licorice has Licorice has a long history as a remedy used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Among its many benefits: relieve stress, improve the respiratory system, relieve stomach distress, and more.


In North America, the root was used as a tea, a medicine, and a toothbrush of sorts – people chewed it as they went about their day, moving a piece around their mouths to clean their teeth. Best of all – licorice is 50-times sweeter than sugar and was used as a flavoring. No more now, though. Maybe it’s time we got back!


Licorice Tea Recipe

For a strong tea add one-fourth cup of licorice root to a medium pot of boiling water. Simmer for at least 10 minutes then drain out the root.  OR: Add a teaspoon or two of licorice tea to a cup of hot water. Let it sit for around 5 minutes or later.

– Have aches and pains? Why not a rag in your licorice tea and make a compress for the painful area.

Pate de Reglisse noir

Liquorice Paste [aka Jujubes]. The best refined liquorice one pound, gum Arabic four pounds, loaf sugar two pounds, Florence orris-root [root of the Iris] one ounce. Dissolve the gum and liquorice in seven pints of water, keeping it stirred over a slow fire; add the sugar in syrup [mixture] with the orris-root, evaporate to a paste, and finish as jujubes.

Other licorice Ideas

  • Put licorice root in hot water or add to other teas and serve it with honey.
  • Use shredded licorice or a piece of root in compote or other desserts, stews.
  • A weird one! OK, not exactly licorice root, but licorice candy. Kids used it in the late 1800s, early 1900s. There’s no formal recipe that I could determine but lots of mention in stories and articles.

SO – put a piece of licorice candy, black, of course (red wasn’t invented yet), add honey or lemon or anything else you like. Carry it around when you hang out with your friends. Give the cup or canteen a shake before drinking. Sharing with friends is at your discretion.