What is Liquorice?


What is Liquorice?

Liquorice, or Licorice in the USA, is grown as a root plant. Much of the world’s liquorice root is found in regional areas of Asia, Greece and Turkey. Kookaburra Liquorice uses real liquorice extract from Israel! Liquorice is also known as liquorice root, sweet root or gan zao (Chinese licorice). The original Latin name for liquorice is Glycyrrhiza.


How is Licorice Used?

Liquorice has an extensive history as an alternative medicine, used in dried, powdered, capsule and liquid forms for a variety of ailments. The liquorice root is particularly good for digestive maladies such as stomach ulcers, colic or heartburn. Some alternative doctors also recommend it be used for infections caused by viruses, sore throats, malaria, food poisoning and even chronic fatigue syndrome.

In mainstream culture, however, liquorice is known and loved for its rich taste as a flavoring in many popular foods, beverages and even tobacco.

Several ‘liquorice’ products on the market do not actually contain liquorice, or liquorice root. Instead, they use anise oil, which gives a similar smell and taste. Enjoy the rich authentic taste of liquorice with Kookaburra Liquorice products rather than other lesser quality foods.

Kookaburra Liquorice contains real liquorice extract/root, proffering the seductive irresistible aroma and rich full flavour.


History of Licorice*

Liquorice Root has been found around the world since ancient times. Liquorice was even found in Egyptian Pharaoh King Tutankhamun’s tomb among his treasures. Some historians assume King Tut intended to take the liquorice root with him on his journey to the next world. Liquorice was a cure-all or healing elixir to many Egyptians. When archaeologists found traces of liquorice decades later, it remained well preserved perhaps partly due to the preservation of the pyramid shape.

Other ancient civilisations also used liquorice root, including the ancient Romans, Greeks, Hindus, Chinese, the Brahmans of India and the Babylonians. Liquorice was thought to have many positive effects, such as alleviating coughs, clearing the throat, increasing stamina and endurance. The army of Alexander the Great chewed Liquorice root to give them energy and allay thirst during the marches.

During the Middle Ages, liquorice was known to be utilized to help stomach pain caused by spicy or badly cooked foods. It was so prolific in fact, that a liquorice import tax was said to have been introduced by Edward I in 1305 to assist in the cost of repairs to London Bridge.

Apothecaries from Italy were known to keep liquorice to use medicinally during the middle of the fifteenth century. It was also used as a flavoring agent for candies, and a foaming agent in fire extinguishers and beers.

Liquorice root is mainly grown in warm temperate countries such as Spain and Italy. Kookaburra Liquorice’s liquorice root is sourced in Israel.


Benefits of Kookaburra Licorice products:

Black liquorice is 98% fat free, soft eating traditional Australian liquorice.

Strawberry liquorice is 97% fat free, soft eating flavorful Australian liquorice.

These products were the original, first Australian liquorice products in the USA marketplace.


Ingredients’ origins:

The liquorice extract is processed in Israel. The wheat flour and wheat glucose syrup is sourced from various parts of New South Wales (in the country), and raw sugar is from Northern New South Wales (again in the country). The strawberry and other flavors are artificial, consisting of Nature Identical flavoring substances.


How Can Licorice be Used?

Liquorice (as in the finished product Kookaburra sells) isn’t hugely adaptable to specific applications besides a great tasting treat. Liquorice root or anise flavor is frequently used in many foods and beverages as a flavor but liquorice itself is less adaptable. That being said, it’s sometimes used in cuisine as an accent flavor, such as crumbled liquorice pieces over a savoury dish, and can also be used in creative ways such as decorating gingerbread houses for Christmas.



National Institute of Health: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) ‘Herbs at a Glance: Licorice Root’ http://nccam.nih.gov/health/licoriceroot/ Updated July 2010

U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health



*Important Note

This information should not be taken as fact. Much of the history of liquorice is folk lore or stories, and is unproven as fact. It is provided here as a point of interest for liquorice enthusiasts who may like to know more about their favorite treat.