Glycyrrhiza glabra, Linne' + var. typica, Regel et Herder, glandulifera, Regal et Herder, or other varieties yielding a yellow sweet wood. The dried rhizome and roots with not more than 2.5 p.c. of acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. S. Europe, W. Asia, Syria, Persia, N. Africa; cult. In Russia, Spain, England, France, Germany, United States, China; rich low-lands, river valleys.

Syn. Glycyrrh., Liquorice Root, Licorice, Sweet Wood, Italian Juice Root (Wood), Spanish Juice Root, Radix Glycyrrhizae Hispanicae; Br. Glycyrrhizae Radix; Fr. Reglisse, Bois de Reglisae--doux, Racine douce; Ger. Radix Liquiritiae, Sussholz, Spanisches Suseaholz, Lakritzenholz.

Glyc-yr-rhi'sa. L. Fr. Gr.... -- ... , sweet, + ... , root -- i.e., its saccarine taste (Dioscorides).

Gla'bra. L. Glaber, smooth, hairless -- i.e., pods, leaves smooth on both sides.

Glan-du-lif'e-ra. L. Glandula, a gland, + ferre, to bear -- i.e., pods covered with thick glandular spines.

Ty'pi-ca. L. typicus, typical, representative--i.e., possessing the strongest characteristics of its group.

Lic'o-rice -- Liqu'uo-rice (lik'o-ris). Fr. L. Liquiritia, corruption of glycyrrhiza.


Perennial herbs; stem .6-1.5 M. (2-5 degrees) high, several from the (crown) thick rhizome; leaves imparipinnate; leaflets 4-7 pairs, ovate, entire, smooth, glutinous beneath, dark green; flowers yellowish-white or purplish, pulse-shaped, racemes; fruit legume, 2.5 Gm. (1') long, brown, ovate, flat, 1-celled, 1-6 (kidney-shape) seeded; G. glabra, var. glandulifera -- stem somewhat pubescent; leaves hairy, glandular beneath; legumes glandular, prickly. RHIZOME (G. glabra, var. typica): Spanish, nearly cylindrical, upper portion somewhat knotty, usually in pieces 14-20 Cm. (6-8') long, 5-20 Mm. (1/5-4/5') thick, yellowish-brown to dark brown, longitudinally wrinkled; thinner rhizomes often having prominent alternate buds, thicker having distinct corky patches; fracture coarsely fibrous; internally yellow, radiate; bark 1-3 Mm. (1/25-1/8') thick; wood porous, in narrow wedges, rhizome with small pith -- none in roots; odor distinctive; taste sweetish, slightly acrid -- bark; (G. glabra, var. glandulifera): Russian, nearly cylindrical, somewhat tapering, sometimes split longitudinally, 15-30 Cm. (6-12') long, 1-5 Cm. (3/5-2') thick, pale yellow when deprived of outer corky layer; fracture coarsely fibrous; internally pale yellow; wood radially cleft; less sweet than preceding.


brownish-yellow with reddish-brown cork cells (Spanish); pale yellow without reddish-brown cork cells (Russian) -- numerous wood-fibers, bast-fibers, and starch grains, .002-.02 Mm. (1/12500/1/1250') broad, tracheae, crystal-fibers with monoclinic calcium oxalate prisms. Solvents: water, diluted alcohol. Dose, gr. 15-60 (1-4 Gm.).


The one variety of the root with the other, as they often are collected together; also the underground stem, which resembles the root, but has a thin central pith; roots of allied species (wood not yellow nor sweet), worm-eaten, decayed and discolored pieces, fibrous roots (little sweetness).


Plants, like lemon and orange, do not thrive in cold lattitudes, becoming woody and less sweet, and while formerly the wild grown, owing to hardy, persistent rapacious habit, supplied the demand, now it is cultivated extensively by planting cuttings in rows, 4 feet (1.3 M.) apart. Roots are dug when sweetest, autumn of 4th year -- preferably of plants that have not borne fruit, a process that exhausts the sweetness of the sap, by removing the earth 2-3 feet (.6-1 M.) deep, the entire length of rows, thereby exposing subterranean portion and allowing easy pulling up of whole plants, from which roots are taken, cleaned, washed, trimmed, assorted, cut into suitable lengths, and marketed via Alicante, Tortosa, Hamburg, in bundles, bales, bags. There are two varieties: 1, Spanish (Italian, Turkish, Alicante, Tortosa -- G. Glabra, var. typica), usually unpeeled and for a long time most esteemed, but as bitterness and acridity reside in the bark it now constitutes only one-tenth of that consumed; 2, Russian (G. glabra, var. glandulifera), usually peeled, larger, richer in glycyrhizin and extractives, and in far greater demand. The Calabrian is preferred by many, while the Italian and Sicilian are consumed at home for making the extract.


Glycyrrhizin, CHON, 6-8 p.c., Glycyramarin, CHON (bitter principle, mostly in the bark), sucrose, glucose, asparagin 2-4 p.c., fat .8 p.c., volatile oil .03 p.c., gum, tannin, starch, resin, yellow coloring matter, ash 5-7 p.c.

Glycyrrhixin -- This is combined with ammonia, being called glycyrrhizate of ammonium or glycyrrhizic acid, CHON.NH.  It is a tribasic acid (glucoside) obtained from cold infusion by coagulating albumin with heat, filtering, precipitating with sulphuric acid, washing precipitate with water, dissolving it in alcohol to which a little ether has been added (or in very weak ammonia water, 1 to 10), filtering, evaporating; it is very soluble in water, sparingly in alcohol, ether, when boiled with diluted sulphuric acid (by hydrolysis) splits into parasaccharic acid (glucose), CHO, and bitter resinous glycyrrhetin, CYON.


1.  Extractum Glycyrrhizae.  Extract of Glycyrrhiza.  (Syn., Ext. Glycyrrh., Extract of Licorice, Extractum liquiritiae, Licorice; Fr. Suc (jus) de Reglisse, Sucre noir; Ger. Succus Liquritiae, Sussholzsaft, Lakritz, Lakritzensaft.)


Evaporate decoction to proper consistence, pulverize or mold.  This is the commercial extract, in flattened, cylindrical masses or rolls, 15-18 Cm. (6-7') long, 15-30 Mm. (3/5-1 1/5') thick, glossy black, brittle, sharp, smooth conchoidal fracture; characteristic, sweet taste: yield 26-32 p.c., containing glycyrrhizin 10-24 p.c.; at least 60 p.c. soluble in cold water; powder brown; ash 8 p.c.  Dose, ad libitum.

Preps.: 1.  Trochisci Ammonii Chloridi, 3 gr. (.2 Gm.).  2.  Pilulae Ferri Iodidi, N.F., 1/6 gr. (.01 Gm.).

2.  Extractum Glycyrrhizae Purum.  Pure Extract of Glycyrrhiza.  (Syn., Ext. Glycyrrh. Pur., Pure Extract of Licorice Root; Br. Extractum Glycyrrhizae, Extractum Glycyrrhizae Depuratum; Fr. Extrait de Reglisse (pur); Ger. Succus Liquiritiae depuratus, Gereinigter Sussholzsaft.)


Macerate, percolate, in metallic percolator, 100 Gm. with boiling water until exhausted; promptly evaporate to a pilular consistency; yield 16-25 p.c.  Dose, ad libitum.

Prep.: 1. Fluidextractum Cascarae Sagradae Aromaticum, 4 p.c.

3. Fluidextractum Glycyrrhizae.  Fluidextract of Glycyrrhiza.  (Syn., Fldext. Glycyrrh, Fluidextract of Licorice, Fluid Extract of Glycyrrhiza; Br. Extractum Glycyrrhizae Liquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide de Reglisse; Ger. Sussholzfluidextrakt.)


Macerate 100 Gm. + 500 cc. boiling water 2 hours, pack in a tinned or enameled metallic percolator, exhaust with boiling water, promptly evaporate to 75 cc., cool, add alcohol 25 cc., mix, allow to stand 7 days in a stoppered container, decant clear liquid, filter remainder, wash residue with mixture alcohol 1, water 3, q.s. 100 cc.  Dose, mxv-60 (1-4 cc.).

Preps.: 1.  Elixir Glycyrrhizae.  Elixir of Glycyrrhiza.  (Syn., Elix. Glycyrrh., Elixir Adjuvans, Elixir of Licorice, Flavoring Elixir; F. Elixir de Reglisse -- adjuvant; Ger. Gewurzhaftes Lakritzenelixir.)


Mix fluidextract of glycyrrhize 12.5 cc. With aromatic elixir 87.5 cc., filter.  Dose. ad libitum; as a flavoring vehicle.

2.  Mistura Glycyrrhizae Composita.  Compound Mixture of Glycyrrhiza.  (Syn., Mist. Glycyrrh. Co., Brown Mixture; Fr. Mixture de Reglisse; Ger. Lakritzenmixtur.)


Dilute fluidextract of glycyrrhiza 12 cc. with glycerin 12, water 50, add     antimony and potassium tartrate .024 Gm., dissolved in hot water 1.2 cc., then camphorated tincture of opium 12, spirit of nitrous ether 3, and water q.s. 100 cc., mix. Dose, 3ss-4 (2-15 cc.).

3.  Syrupus Sarsaparillae Compositus, 1.5 p.c.  4. Elixir Glycyrrhizae Aquosum, N.F., 15  p.c.: Prep.: 1. Elixir Cascarae Sagradae, N.F., 50 p.c.  5. Elixir Tarazaci Compositum,  N.F., 6 p.c.

4.  Pulvis Glycyrrhizae Compositus.  Compound Powder of Glycyrrhiza.  (Syn., Pulv. Glycyrrh. Co., Compound Licorice Powder; Fr. Poudre pectorale de Reglisse composee; Ger. Pulvis Liquiritiae compositus (Pectoralis Kurellae), Brustpulver.)


Mix oil of fennel .4 Gm. with sucrose 50 Gm., add glycyrrhiza 23.6, senna 18, washed sulphur 8; mix thoroughly, pass through No. 80 sieve.  It is greenish-yellow, fennel-like odor -- fragments of glycyrrhiza with yellow fibers, crystal-fibers, large tracheae, starch grains, .002-.02 Mm. (1/12500-1/1250') broad; fragments of senna with non-glandular hairs, epidermis, stomata with 2 neighboring cells, crystal-fibers.  Tests: 1. Moisten .1 Gm. with alcohol 2 cc, + water 10 cc., boil, cool, filter; filtrate -- pale yellowish-brown; + 1 drop of potassium hydroxide T.S.--changes at once to yellowish-red; should be free from hydrogen sulphide odor.  Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 Gm.).

5.  Massa Hydrargyri, 10 p.c.

6.  Fluidglyceratum glycyrrhiae, N.F., 100 p.c.

Preps.: 1. Syrupus Glycyrrhizae, N.F., 25 p.c., + syrup q.s. 100; or macerate root (20) in  water (100) + ammonia water (10) for 12 hours, filter, add syrup q.s. 100 parts; or mix  fluidextract (2) with syrup (8).  Dose, ad libitum; mostly for flavoring; 2. Elixir  Bromidorum Quinque, N.F., 8 p.c.; 3. Elixir Guaranae et Apii, N.F., 3 p.c.

7. Fluidextractum Sarsaparillae Compositum, N.F. 12 p.c.  8. Fluidextractum Trifolii Compositum, N.F., 21.5 p.c.  9. Pilulae Ferri Iodidi, N.F., 2/3 gr. (.045 Gm.).  10. Pilueae Laxativae Compositae, N.F., 2/3 gr. (.045 Gm.).  11. Species Pectorales, N.F., 15 p.c.  12. Tinctura Aloes, N.F., 20 p.c.  13. Tinctura Aloes et Myrrhae, N.F., 10 p.c.  14. Tinctura Rhei Dulcis, N.F., 4 p.c.

Unoff. Preps.: Ammoniated Glycyrrhizin, gr. 5-15 (.3-1 Gm.).  Decoction, Infusion, each, 5 p.c.


Demulcent, expectorant, laxative; locally--slight stimulant.  Increases, when chewed, the flow of saliva and mucus, which secretions are emollient to the throat.


Febrile catarrhal conditions, bronchitis, bowel and urinary affections; here should be prepared with flaxseed, rice, barley, or gum water.  In pharmacy used to mask taste of aloe, ammonium chloride, bitter sulphates, colocynth, guaiacum, hyoscyamus, mezereum, senega, senna, quinine, turpentine, etc.  Mechanically as an excipient and dryer in pills, troches, etc.

Allied Plants

1. Glycyrrhiza echina-ta. -- Europe, Hungary, S. Russia; flowers in globular heads, pod ovoid with long spines.  G. Lepido'ta; United States (Mo., Minn.).

2. A'brus precato'rius, Indian (Wild) Licorice, Jequirity, India, Brazil. -- Seed used as standard weight, and for criminal poisoning, although inert when taken whole; contain abrin, having the action of snake-venom, being cardiac depressant; root contains glycyrrhizin, but is a poor substitute for glygyrrhiza.

3. Ono'nis spino'sa, Rest-harrow, Europe. -- Root .6 M. (2 degrees) long, 12 Mm. (1/2') thick; odor and taste similar to official glycyrrhiza.

4. Ar'achis hypogae'a, Peanut, Groundnut. -- Tropical America, cult.  United States.  Small succulent plant, yielding abundant subterranean seed, which are edible, popular and contains fixed oil 45 p.c. suitable for replacing sesame or olive oil.