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HISTORY OF LIQUORICE
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Liquorice Root is one of those herbs that has been around since ancient times. It was found in great quantities in the tomb of King Tut among his gold, jewelry and art treasures. It was presumed that King Tut wanted to take the root with him on his journey to the next world so that he could make his sweet drink “Mai sus” when he got there. To the Egyptians the sweet tasting Liquorice root was a cure-all, much in the same manner that Chinese relate to Ginseng. Remarkably the liquorice root was extremely well preserved when it was found by archaeologists, this may be due in part by the unusual preservation qualities the shape of the pyramid has.

Liquorice root was used in other areas of the ancient world, the Brahmans of India, the Hindus, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. The ancient Hindus believed it would increase sexual vigor when prepared as a beverage with milk and sugar. The Scythians taught the use of the herb to the Greeks; Theophrastus called it Scythian root, writing in the third century B.C. The Scythians were able to go twelve days without drinking water because they chewed on Liquorice root and ate mare’s cheese. He also said it was good for coughs and all pectoral diseases. In about 80 AD, Pliny recommended Liquorice root to clear the voice and to alleviate thirst and hunger.

Dioscorides, an herbal physician, gave the plant its botanical name (Greek glukos = sweet, riza = root). Dioscorides travelled with the army of Alexander the Great, he told the troops to carry and chew Liquorice root in order to allay their thirst when water was scarce and to give them stamina and endurance during their long marches. He also said that it was good for stomach trouble, throat trouble and liver and kidney disorders. It is not known if they had the same trouble that was reported by Napoleon in France; he habitually chewed Liquorice root, which eventually blackened his teeth.

During the Middle Ages, Liquorice was often taken to alleviate the bad effects of highly spiced food, fat and often-contaminated meats, as refrigeration was impossible and most meats were preserved by salting and by packing with aromatic herbs and spices. During this time Liquorice extract was said to be equal to that of “Grains of paradise”, it is not known what that meant but it sounded important, to be documented.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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