With today being Licorice Day, the love it or hate it debate continues — Do you like the taste of licorice?
When I was a kid, I hated the black jelly beans that came in my Easter basket; but, as an adult, I have grown to like the flavor of licorice. This special day was created by Licorice International in 2004, to promote it’s line of licorice candies.
Many people aren’t aware that licorice is an herb, originally used around the world as a medicine, before we turned it into candy. It was used to combat a multitude of ailments including cough, constipation and skin conditions and it has many anti-depressant compounds. If you run out of shampoo, you can use the root as a rinse, since it reduces the oil in hair. Just bring 2 Tbs of dried licorice root and 6 cups of water to a boil, simmer for 40 minutes, then cool and pour through your hair. Maybe it’s easier to buy shampoo, but for those who want to go all-natural, give it a try.
The herb’s key therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin, is 50 times sweeter than sugar, which is probably why it was used for making candy. Do you have a licorice lover in your family? Barbara Bakes has a delicious black licorice caramels recipe with great instructions and plenty of photos.
Licorice also played a role in the American Civil War. According to The Encyclopedia to Civil War Medicine, it was one of the ingredients in calomel, also know as “blue pills” or “blue mass.” President Lincoln is known for having taken blue mass, but it is not sure which ailment he took it for. On April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC, was shelled by the Confederacy, starting the Civil War. Don’t forget to take a bag of licorice on your next visit to Fort Sumter.
Feature photo credit: The Epicenter