Wild Licorice or

Wild Licorice or

Wild Licorice

The boarderlines of a popular sandwich shop were covered in wild licorice, causing many customers to complain. The native plants were not only damaging the customer experience, but it is also part of a prevalent Native American culture and tradition. This case is an example of an attempt for the company to do some public relations and customer service damage control.Glycyrrhiza lepidota (American licorice) is a species of Glycyrrhiza (a genus in the pea/bean family, Fabaceae) native to most of North America, from central Canada south through the United States to California, Texas and Virginia, but absent from the southeastern states. It is also sometimes known in the United States as "wild licorice", to distinguish it from the related European licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) which is occasionally cultivated.



True licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) has traditionally been used as a treatment for coughs, sore throats, toothaches and earaches, and as a flavouring for tobacco and food products. It has been used for thousands of years in China as a treatment for stomachache, insomnia, food poisoning, sores, herpes and abscesses. Today’s uses include arthritis and ulcer treatment, as an anti-inflammatory and an effective treatment for cold sores and hives. Wild licorice has had a much narrower range of uses, e.g. as a flavouring for root beer and chewing tobacco, but it is possible that its market share could be increased with the proper promotion.Wild licorice can be started from seed, but the seed should be scarified or soaked in cold water overnight to break the seed coat.

It is usually propagated by root division or stolen cuttings planted 1 in below the surface. The soil should be deeply cultivated. The roots and stolens are harvested in the fall of the 3rd or 4th year, before the plants have gone to seed. Flowers should be pinched off as they form in the year of harvest. The roots are dried and crushed, then boiled to evaporate off the liquid, leaving a thick black paste or solid. Yields are 2.5 to 5 tons/acre (5.5 to 11 tonnes/ha).Most "licorice" candy in North America is actually flavoured with anise oil. Wild licorice has a unique market potential as a natural sugar substitute, due to growing concerns over side effects of other synthetic sugar substitutes. However, any product is unsafe if consumed in excess: licorice over-consumption is dangerous for people with high blood pressure or liver disease. Wild licorice has also been tested as a feed additive for cattle and hogs. (Source: www.gov.mb.ca)



Related Articles