Origin: Western Asia and southern/eastern Europe

Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Scientific Name: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Folk Names: Lacris, liquorice, reglisse (Welsh), sweet root


Element: Earth
Day: Wednesday
Planet: Mercury
Zodiac: Virgo

Parts used: Root

Magical Properties: Love, lust, protection, passion, communication, fidelity.

Substitutions: Ginger


Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History that keeping a piece of licorice root in the mouth staved off hunger and thirst, as well as clearing the voice. Dioscorides fed licorice root to the troops of Alexander the Great to give them stamina and endurance during long marches.

Magical Uses


Note: This information is provided for informational purposes only, do not use any plants medicinally without consulting with an appropriate medical professional.

Medicinal Properties: Alterative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, laxative, tonic

Active Constituents: Glycyrrhizin/glycyrrhetinic acid

Medicinal Uses:

Digestion: Licorice lowers stomach acid to help relieve indigestion and heartburn, and it helps to soothe food poisoning, nausea, and sea-sickness. It can assist with healing ulcers, and its anti-inflammatory properties can help to counter inflammatory bowel conditions. Licorice supports liver function, lowers cholesterol levels, and is also a mild laxative.

Immune System: As an antiviral, licorice has been attributed with combatting Herpes. Its anti-inflammatory properties can assist with arthritis, asthma and hay fever, and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Glycyrrhizin functions similarly to adrenal hormones like cortisol, but without the negative side effects.

Nervous System: Licorice is an adaptogenic tonic: it helps to improve tolerance to physical and mental stress, and can help with adrenal fatigue, nervous exhaustion, and fibromyalgia.

Reproductive System: Licorice can produce effects similar to estrogen, which can help with menstrual and menopausal problems: it can help curb heavy periods, including those caused by peri-menopause, and can also help those with PCOS. It’s been known to improve low sperm count, infertility, low libido, and other sexual dysfunction. Licorice has also been used to increase breast milk production.

Respiratory System: As an anti-allergenic, licorice can be used to soothe hay fever and asthma. Its soothing qualities can help reduce the irritation and inflammation associated with sore throats and harsh, dry coughs. Licorice’s expectorant qualities can also be utilised to treat asthma, coughs, and chest infections.




The most common use of licorice is in food products, although it is also used to flavour various tobacco products.


Most popularly, licorice is used to make a variety of sweets. Most liquorice confections are primarily flavoured with aniseed, although do usually contain varying amounts of licorice.


Licorice is often used as a mouth freshener (in its natural form, or unsweetened pastilles or liqueurs), particularly in France, Spain, and southern Italy.


Licorice is one of 20 species in the genus Glycyrrhiza, species of which are found on every continent.

Type: Herb
Plant Height: 1m
Leaves: 7-15cm long, made of 9-17 oblong leaflets
Flowers: Purple to pale flowers roughly 1cm long, in a loose inflorescence
Fruit: Oblong pods, 2-3cm long containing multiple seeds

Etymology: ‘Licorice’ comes from the Greek glukurriza, meaning “sweet root”.

In the Garden

Type: Perennial
Sow: Spring/early summer
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Moderate
Soil: Light, loamy, and well-drained

Companion Planting: Licorice grows well with calendula, marjoram, rosemary, lettuce, and zinnia.
Do not plant with garlic, onions, leek, broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower.