Liquorice (British English) or licorice (American English) (// LIK-ər-is(h), //) is the common name of Glycyrrhiza glabra, a flowering plant of the bean family Fabaceae, from the root of which a sweet, aromatic flavouring can be extracted.
The liquorice plant is a herbaceous perennial legume native to Western Asia, North Africa and southern Europe. It is not botanically closely related to anise or fennel, which are sources of similar flavouring compounds. (Another such source, star anise, is even more distant from anise and fennel than liquorice is, despite its similar common name.) Liquorice is used as a flavouring in candies and tobacco, particularly in some European and West Asian countries.
Liquorice extracts have been used in herbalism and traditional medicine. Excessive consumption of liquorice (more than 2 mg/kg per day of pure glycyrrhizinic acid, a liquorice component) may result in adverse effects, such as hypokalemia, increased blood pressure, muscle weakness, and death.
- liquorice (Britain, Ireland) (See the usage notes below)
From Middle English lycorys, from Old French licoresse, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Ancient Greek γλυκύρριζα (glukúrrhiza): γλυκύς (glukús, “sweet”) + ῥίζα (rhíza, “root”) (English glucose, English rhizome). Doublet of glycyrrhiza....