The History of Licorice Candy

Posted by Hugh Nguyen on

Licorice has been around since ancient times and is believed to give vitality and longevity. It is sometimes used as a beautifying agent and aphrodisiac- an “elixir of life.”

Great quantities were found with the fabulous treasures of King Tut, and other Egyptian rulers — for it was believed that the licorice could be used to prepare a sweet drink in the next world.

The Chinese (dating back 5,000 years) maintained that eating the root would give them strength and endurance. Licorice still holds a prominent place in Chinese herbal combinations since it is believed to harmonize with the action of other herbs.

Alexander the Great, the Scythian armies, Roman Emperor Caesar, and even India’s great prophet, Brahma, are on record endorsing the beneficial properties contained in licorice. Warriors used it for its ability to quench thirst while on the march, while others (including Brahma and venerable Chinese Buddhist sages), recognized licorice’s valuable healing properties.

In the early 16th Century, black licorice began to be cultivated in the monastery garden at Pontefract, England, and later, this became the center of the licorice confectionery industry.

In addition to being used as a flavoring in candy products, natural licorice can be an effective medicine. For over 3,000 years, licorice root has been used as a treatment in bronchial ailments, minor throat irritation as a cough suppressant, gastric and peptic ulcers, menopause, eczema, infection, and to help to overcome sugar cravings.

But the most enduring quality of licorice continues to be its potential for the sweetness of flavor. Its botanical name is Glycyrrhiza, from the Greek meaning “sweet root.” The taste of the licorice root is so distinctive that its sweetness is detectable in water even when diluted to 1 part licorice candy to 20,000 parts water!

Licorice is sure to continue on as a favorite snack of humankind. Candy Warehouse is proud to sell many varieties of this ancient treat!


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