Liquorice

Liquorice is from which a sweet flavor can be extracted. The  liquorice  plant  is  a  herbaceous  perennial  legume native  to  southern  Europe  and  parts of  Asia, such  as  India.  Liquorice  flavors  are used  as  candies  or sweeteners, particularly  in  some  European and  Middle  Eastern  countries.

Liquorice  extracts  have  a  number  of  medical  uses, and  they  are  also  used  in herbal and  folk  medications. Excessive  consumption  of  liquorice may  result  in adverse  effects, and  over  consumption  should  be  suspected  clinically  in patients  presenting  with  otherwise  unexplained  hypokalemiaand  muscle weakness.

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Description

It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7-15 cm long , with 9-17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8-1.2 cm long , purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an rectangular sheath, 2-3 cm longthy, containing several grains. The stems are stoloniferous.

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Chemistry

The odor of liquorices root comes from a intricate and changing combination of compounds, of which anethole is up to 3% of total volatiles. Much of the sweetness in liquorices comes from glycyrrhizin, which has a sweet taste, about 30-50 times more than the sweetness of sugar. The sweetness is very different from sugar, being less instant, tart, and lasting longer.

Phytoestrogens are the isoflavene glabrene and the isoflavene glabridin, found in the roots of liquorice.

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Cultivation and uses

Liquorice, grows best in well-drained soils in deep valleys with full sun and is harvested in the autumn two to three years after planting. These are countries that producing liquorices : India, Iran, Afghanistan, the People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey.

The world leading manufacturer of  liquorices  products is M&F Worldwide,which manufactures more than 70% of the worldwide liquorices flavors sold to end users.

 

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Food and candy

Liquorice odor  is found in a wide variety of candies or sweets that in most of these candies , the actual content of liquorice is very low because the taste is reinforced by aniseed oil.

The root of the plant is simply dug up, washed, dried, and chewed, as a mouth freshener.

Dried liqorice root can be chewed as a sweet. Black liquorice contains about  100 calories per ounce .

Medicine

Glycyrrhizin has also proved antiviral, antimicrobial, anti- inflammatory,

hepatic protective, and blood pressure-incresing effects in vitro and vivo, as is supported by the finding that intravenous glycyrrhizin slows the progression of  viral and  autoimmune hepatitis. In one clinical trial liquorices demonstrated promising activity, when applied topically, against atopic dermatitis. Additionally , liquorices may be  effective in treating hyperlipidaemia.

Liquorices has also demonstrated efficacy in treating inflammation-induced skin

hyperpigmentation . Liqurice may be useful in preventing neurodegenerative

disorders  and dental caries too.

The antiulcer, laxative, anti diabetic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antitumour and expectorant properties of  liquorices have been investigated.

For liver protection in tuberculosis therapy , the compound of glycyrrhizin, found in liquorices ,has been proposed as being useful, but as this use may be harmful so evidence doesn’t support it .

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Toxicity

The major dose-limiting toxicities of  Liquorices are corticosteroid in nature, because of the inhibitory , effect its chief active constituents , glycyrrhizin and enoxolone , have on cortisol degradation and include oedema, hypokalaemia ,weight gain or loss , and hypertension .

The United States Food and Drug Administration believes that foods containing liquorices and its derivatives are safe if not consumed excessively. Other jurisdictions have suggested no more than 100 mg to 200 mg of glycyrrhizin per day, the equivalent of  about 70 to 150 g of  liquorices.

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