Perennial: Hardy in zones 6-10
When to Sow: Spring, late summer.
Light conditions: Full sun to partial shade
Ease of Germination: Moderate
Uses: Culinary, medicinal, industrial
Chinese licorice is the most commonly used herb in traditional Chinese medicine, occurring in almost all prescriptions, and its use is often associated with longevity. The sweet tonic herb is an expectorant, neutralizes toxins and balances blood sugar levels. Three year old licorice roots are harvested in the autumn.
Laboratory studies in China have found that the extracts of Chinese licorice can help detoxify over 1,200 known toxins. It is effective in relieving the intoxication of junk foods, drugs and alcohol. In China it is known as the ‘great detoxifier’ and the ‘great adjunct’. It is a tonic to the spleen and kidneys and helps regulate stomach functions. It has the ability to build and sustain energy partly due to its power to regulate the blood sugar balance, sharpens concentration, relieves abdominal pain and congestion, benefits the functions of the abdominal organs.
In addition, Chinese Licorice is said to help promote muscle growth, beautifies the countenance, fortifies the sinews and bones, cures swollen wounds caused by straining or incisive injury, detoxifies the blood and relieves pain and tension due to stress. It has been used successfully for a thousand years in cases of anorexia, which is now a growing health concern in the West.
Licorice tea is amazing for treating sore throats and coughs. It coats your throat with its sweet flavour making swallowing a lot less painful, as well as fighting off bad bacteria and viruses. Licorice has powerful anti-inflammatory properties effective for arthritis, gastritis, canker sores. Also a mild laxative. Components in licorice aid in healing gastric ulcers.
Sow in spring or late summer. Soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water 20°C (68°F). Seed germination is low and irregular. Germinations takes 1-2 weeks. Prefers full-sun to partial shade. Requires rich, moist, and well-draining soil with a pH of around 6. Lightly cover seeds with soil. Keep soil moist but never soggy. For best germination results grow indoors in sterilized soil; black earth/peat moss mixture. Transplant outside after risk of frost.