Friday, October 21, 2022

History of licorice as herbal drink

Licorices are believed to have originated in southern Asia and then spreading through the Middle East and into southern Europe, licorice is first reported in England as growing at a monastery in Pontefract, from whence its fame spread to the States and beyond.

The first documented medicinal use of licorice can be traced back to ancient Assyrian, Egyptians, Chinese and Indian cultures. Ancient Egyptians prepared a licorice drink for ritual use to honor spirits of the pharaohs. It was used in ancient Greece, China, and Egypt, primarily for gastritis and ailments of the upper respiratory tract.

According to Theophrastus (IV–III century b.c.), the great botanist, pharmacologist and disciple of Plato and Aristotle, the Greeks probably learnt about the pharmacological uses of licorice from the Scythians, an ethnic group who lived to the north and east of Greece in the area of the Ukraine between the Black and Caspian Seas.

Plinius the Elder suggested licorice as a remedy for asthma, malaises and the throat, ulcerations of the mouth, and even advised its use to combat sterility.

Its usage has also evolved over the years. From the licorice juice ancient people mixed into drinks as medicine and wasn’t until around the 13th century CE that licorice started appearing in confectionary.

During World War II, the Dutch physician F.E. Revers observed improvements in patients' peptic ulcer disease from a licorice preparation. He also noted facial and peripheral edema, sparking scientific investigation into licorice's properties and adverse effects. In the 1950s, there were reports of patients with Addison's disease 'craving' licorice candy, viewed by some as early evidence of steroid modulating properties.
History of licorice as herbal drink

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