Friday, October 31, 2008

Gotta Cough? Try Licorice!

A friend in Australia suffered from post-nasal drip following sinus surgery, leaving him with a sore throat and sputtering cough. He turned to licorice, his favorite comfort food, and was surprised to find it relieved his symptoms.

His experience was not unique. Since the time of Hippocrates, licorice has been used for medicinal purposes. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder recommended using it as an expectorant. The Chinese call licorice "gan cao," and they have used it as medicine for years. Culpeper, a 17th century herbalist, wrote that licorice “was a fine medicine for hoarseness.”

So before you reach for the medicine cabinet, try the candy shelf. Licorice candy, lozenges or tea made from licorice root may be all you need to soothe your symptoms.

Make sure that the word “licorice” is listed in the ingredients. Many American products are called licorice, but are really made with anise seed. Licorice from Europe or Australia usually contains real licorice. Two popular kinds sold by Licorice International include the Kokindjes from Holland and the Black Tire Tread from Finland. To soothe a sore throat, try “Hint Mints.” Licorice Spice caffeine free herbal tea is also made with real licorice root, and just tastes good on a chilly evening.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your new blog. Who would have thought of a blog about licorice? Keep up the good work.