How healthy is licorice
How healthy is licorice?
Opinions differ on liquorice: either you like it or you detest it. The North Germans have valued liquorice on the coast for centuries. And in every form. Tough, sometimes salty and tart in the finish - for many northern Germans liquorice is the "black gold", while in the south it is disparagingly called "bear dung".
Licorice is made from the root of licorice
In a complex process, liquorice is obtained from the roots of liquorice. The plant grows up to two meters high and grows mainly in the Mediterranean and Central Asian countries, particularly in Iran and Turkey. The finger-thick roots are harvested in late autumn. Their runners reach a length of up to eight meters. A black, viscous mass is finally made from the roots - the basis for liquorice.
Snack or Medicine?
You can make around 100 kilos of sweets from five kilos of raw liquorice. While the liquorice from the supermarket only contains around five percent raw liquorice, the proportion of liquorice from the pharmacy or a specialist shop is significantly higher. In France, Italy and Spain some even eat the raw mass - not as a sweet, but as medicine.
Known as a remedy since ancient times
In fact, the juice of the liquorice root contains a plant substance that has an expectorant effect. Liquorice was already known as a remedy in ancient times and was used against colds and lung diseases. In Central Europe, liquorice gained medicinal importance since the Middle Ages. Pharmacists turned it into remedies for jaundice, coughs, stomach problems and even the plague. Only later was the tart liquorice mixed with sugar, glucose syrup, flour, potato starch, salmiak and flavorings and consumed as a sweet.
Part of medication such as cough syrup
Even today, liquorice is still used medicinally and is often a component of cough syrups. Researchers have found evidence that licorice has beneficial effects on inflammation and can lower liver values in chronic hepatitis. Licorice also contains substances that strengthen the body's defenses. The pharmaceutical industry also uses the licorice component glycyrrhizic acid as a raw material for new drugs, including therapies against HIV and the infectious disease SARS.
"Black sow": make liquorice liqueur yourself
"Black sow" is the name of a liquorice liqueur that you can easily make yourself. It has no medicinal effect, it is just supposed to taste good. 0.7 liters of high-quality vodka and 300 grams of salmiak liquorice are placed in a large, well-sealable glass jar. Shake well every now and then for two days so that the candies dissolve - and around 850 milliliters of liquorice liqueur are ready.
High blood pressure possible with overdose
Unfortunately, too much snacking is not healthy either. As with any other medicine, licorice can be dangerous if overdosed. Just 100 grams of pure liquorice a day can lead to high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias. During pregnancy, liquorice has a negative impact on the development of the embryo. In most sweets, however, the proportion of liquorice is so low that liquorice lovers can get their hands on it without worries.
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