Liquorice is from which a sweet flavor can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, such as India. Liquorice flavors are used as candies or sweeteners, particularly in some European and Middle Eastern countries.
Liquorice extracts have a number of medical uses, and they are also used in herbal and folk medications. Excessive consumption of liquorice may result in adverse effects, and over consumption should be suspected clinically in patients presenting with otherwise unexplained hypokalemiaand muscle weakness.
It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7-15 cm long , with 9-17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8-1.2 cm long , purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an rectangular sheath, 2-3 cm longthy, containing several grains. The stems are stoloniferous.
The odor of liquorices root comes from a intricate and changing combination of compounds, of which anethole is up to 3% of total volatiles. Much of the sweetness in liquorices comes from glycyrrhizin, which has a sweet taste, about 30-50 times more than the sweetness of sugar. The sweetness is very different from sugar, being less instant, tart, and lasting longer.
Phytoestrogens are the isoflavene glabrene and the isoflavene glabridin, found in the roots of liquorice.
Cultivation and uses
Liquorice, grows best in well-drained soils in deep valleys with full sun and is harvested in the autumn two to three years after planting. These are countries that producing liquorices : India, Iran, Afghanistan, the People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey.
The world leading manufacturer of liquorices products is M&F Worldwide,which manufactures more than 70% of the worldwide liquorices flavors sold to end users.
Food and candy
Liquorice odor is found in a wide variety of candies or sweets that in most of these candies , the actual content of liquorice is very low because the taste is reinforced by aniseed oil.
The root of the plant is simply dug up, washed, dried, and chewed, as a mouth freshener.
Dried liqorice root can be chewed as a sweet. Black liquorice contains about 100 calories per ounce .
Glycyrrhizin has also proved antiviral, antimicrobial, anti- inflammatory,
hepatic protective, and blood pressure-incresing effects in vitro and vivo, as is supported by the finding that intravenous glycyrrhizin slows the progression of viral and autoimmune hepatitis. In one clinical trial liquorices demonstrated promising activity, when applied topically, against atopic dermatitis. Additionally , liquorices may be effective in treating hyperlipidaemia.
Liquorices has also demonstrated efficacy in treating inflammation-induced skin
hyperpigmentation . Liqurice may be useful in preventing neurodegenerative
disorders and dental caries too.
The antiulcer, laxative, anti diabetic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antitumour and expectorant properties of liquorices have been investigated.
For liver protection in tuberculosis therapy , the compound of glycyrrhizin, found in liquorices ,has been proposed as being useful, but as this use may be harmful so evidence doesn’t support it .
The major dose-limiting toxicities of Liquorices are corticosteroid in nature, because of the inhibitory , effect its chief active constituents , glycyrrhizin and enoxolone , have on cortisol degradation and include oedema, hypokalaemia ,weight gain or loss , and hypertension .
The United States Food and Drug Administration believes that foods containing liquorices and its derivatives are safe if not consumed excessively. Other jurisdictions have suggested no more than 100 mg to 200 mg of glycyrrhizin per day, the equivalent of about 70 to 150 g of liquorices.