Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a perennial
herb indigenous to Greece, Italy, Spain, Syria, Iraq and southern China. The root
penetrates deeply into the ground and is the part of the herb that contains an abundance
of valuable properties. The word Licorice comes from the Greek glykys (sweet) and
rhiza(root), meaning sweet root. The root yields a substance known as glycyrrhizin or
glycyrrhizic acid which is 50 times as sweet as sugar cane. The use of Licorice dates back
to ancient times. Archaeologists found great quantities of Licorice stored among the
fabulous jewelry and art treasures in the 3000 year old tomb of King Tut. This was done to
enable the departed spirit to prepare a sweet drink called mai sus in the next world. It
is still a favorite beverage among the Egyptians today.
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