Many licorice candies and sweets are actually flavored with the similar-tasting herb anise.
What it is: Licorice is the root of the glycyrrhiza glabra plant, a legume that sprouts purple and blue flowers.
Where it comes from: The licorice plant is native to Europe and parts of Asia. Licorice and licorice extract can be found whole, sliced, and in powder and liquid forms.
Properties: The root has a brown, bark-like exterior and yellow interior and is 50 times sweeter than sugar.
What it’s good for: For cosmetic purposes, licorice root can be used to reduce inflammation and to combat aging. It hydrates, soothes, and brightens skin, and helps reduce the appearance of age spots. A common herbal remedy in Asia for a variety of ailments, it is eaten and used as flavoring in Europe.
Where you’ll find it: You’ll find it in rejuvenating lotions and creams, acne products, makeup, eye treatments, soaps, skin-brightening products, and cleansers. It is also sold as a tea, cut in slices for chewing, and used as a flavor agent in candies, drinks, and tobacco products.
Other uses: Chewing on slices of licorice root is said to relieve sore throats, dry coughs, and help with respiratory problems.