Licorice is a native of So. Europe, growing in the U.S. in rich, moist soil.
It is without smell and of a sweet mucilaginous taste which is sometimes mingled with a slight degree of acrimony. Before being used, the ROOT should always be deprived of its outer skin, which is somewhat acrid and without possession of any of the virtues of the root.
Licorice root is an old and exceedingly popular remedy. It is well adapted to catarrhal affections, coughs, sore throat, hoarseness, chest and lung troubles, and is soothing to irritated, mucous membranes of the bowels and urinary passages.
An excellent old family remedy for persistent tickling cough was made as follows: 1/2 C. linseed (the whole seed) and 1 oz. licorice simmered in 1 qt. water to the consistency of syrup and strained. Children find this pleasant to take and can be given to them in doses up to 1 teacupful; adults can take the decoction freely. Can be taken warm or cold.
Licorice is frequently used as an addition to decoctions to cover an unpleasant taste or bitterness and makes them more acceptable to the stomach. When a compound is made for the lungs of such as boneset, elecampane, wild cherry, and white horehound, adding a little Licorice will not only improve the remedy but cover up an unpleasant taste.
Licorice is best taken in the form of a decoction which may be prepared by boiling 1 oz. of the bruised root for a few minutes in 1 pt. water. By long boiling, the acrid principle is extracted.
The powdered root is also used in the preparation of pills, either to give them due consistence, or to cover their surfaces and prevent them from adhering together.
The extract of licorice is made in more than one grade. Always use the best. It is practically all soluble in water.