The dried root is often used for chewing, it is excellent for teething children and also as a tooth cleaner. A tea made from the roots is an excellent thirst quencher. The powdered root is also used as a sweetener in other herb teas.The leaves are used as a tea substitute in Mongolia.
Extracts from the root are used as a foaming agent in beers and fire extinguishers.A fibre obtained from the roots is used for insulation, wallboard, boxboard etc. The fibres can be used after the medicinal and flavouring constituents of the root have been removed.
The root is alterative, antispasmodic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, moderately pectoral and tonic. The root has also been shown to have a hormonal effect similar to the ovarian hormone. Liquorice root is much used in cough medicines and also in the treatment of catarrhal infections of the urinary tract. It is taken internally in the treatment of Addison's disease, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, peptic ulcer, arthritis, allergic complaints and following steroidal therapy. It should be used in moderation and should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with high blood pressure, kidney disease or taking digoxin-based medication. Prolonged usage raises the blood pressure and causes water retention. See also the notes above on toxicity. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema and shingles.The root is harvested in the autumn when 3 - 4 years old and is dried for later use.
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Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Liquorice is often cultivated for its edible root which is widely used in medicine and as a flavouring. There are some named varieties. The ssp. glandulifera grows in Russia and produces adventitious roots up to 10 cm thick. Yields of 10 - 12 tonnes per hectare were considered good in the early 20th century, this only being attained in the fourth year of growth. Unless seed is required, the plant is usually prevented from flowering so that it puts more energy into producing good quality roots. The bruised root has a characteristic sweet pungent smell. Plants are slow to settle in and do not produce much growth in their first two years after being moved. The young growth is also very susceptible to damage by slugs and so the plant will require some protection for its first few years[K]. A fairly deep-rooting plant, the roots are up to 120cm long. It can be difficult to eradicate once it is established.This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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