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Title: Ordering Dried Licorice Sticks Online
Article Date: October 2004
Author: Lyberty (

Glycyrrhiza uralensis/glabra: liquorice spice root / sticks
Dried licorice root
This is just an account of my experience trying to locate and buy dried licorice root (licorice sticks, not powdered) online.

First, info about licorice (note this isn't about the candy, but the herb):

Latin Name: Glycyrrhiza Uralinsis (Chinese licorice); Glycyrrhiza glabra (European licorice)
Chinese Name: Gan Cao
Family: Fabaceae
Other Names: Blackroot, Black Sugar, Licorice Root, Liquorice, Sweetroot, Sweetwood

"Licorice strengthens the immune system, stimulates the adrenal gland, and is diuretic and laxative. The roots contain glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar. "

"In the depths of King Tut's tomb (a pyramid, no less) were found sticks of dried licorice.
To the Egyptians, the sweet-tasting licorice root was a cure-all in much the same manner in which the Chinese related to Ginseng..

""Glycyrrhiza (Kantsao and Kuo-lao). This last name is applied to the plant on account of its great virtues as a remedy. The drug is very highly prized by the Chinese and enters into the composition of very many prescriptions. The most common species that supply the Chinese licorice root are Glycyrrhiza echinata and Glycyrrhiza glabra, both of which are found growing plentifully in Northern China. Quantities are also brought from Mongolia, especially from the region about Kokonor." [ more ]

The dried root makes a great substitue for gum or chewing tobacco. It's sweet, and, when cut into little pieces, can be chewed as long as gum. (You can chew the end of the stick, but it looks pretty weird, and should only be done in private..)

"Commercial licorice is obtained from the roots of a plant, Glycyrrhiza
glabra, native in Mediterranean regions but also grown in Turkey, Iraq
and southern Russia. The best grades are imported from plantations in
Spain and Italy after being cured several months. There are a dozen or
more species of licorice plants but glabra, meaning smooth, is most
important. In this country, widespread, we have G. lepidota or wild
licorice. Glycyrrhiza is the Latin version of two Greek words: glykys
(sweet) and rhiza (root). According to Webster, the name "Licorice:
was derived from Liquirita, a Late Latin corruption of Glycyrrhiza. " [source]

"The sweet saponin glycyrrhizin occurs in the roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra, the original European source, and in Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Chinese licorice.
Authorities treat the two as chemically and medicinally identical."

"Liquorice is also largely used by brewers, being added to porter and stout to give thickness and blackness.
(Added during the boil for stouts and other dark, strongly-flavored beers. )"

See also: "encyclopedia of spices"

Note: Large or frequent doses of licorice can lead to acute hypertension (high blood pressure). I have also read reports of it reducing testosterone, but this has been refuted by some sources.
(It's not clear if this is good or bad; in men, sometimes a reduction of testosterone levels is recommended to minimize cardiovascular disease risk factors and/or hormone-dependent cancer risks.[2])

Kalyx WebSite PreviewI was looking for them becasue a) I still had a few sticks from about 10 years ago (they last forever), and I enjoyed them as a child, but have never seen them for sale anywhere, and b) I wanted to use them as a cigarette substitute (I'm trying to quit). [footnote1]

After some difficulty, I was able to locate an online seller at
The main probelm is that most places selling licorice root are selling powdered (or sliced) root, and it's not always clear what you will be ordering. (For Kalyx, do a search on "licorice sticks".)

The one that seemed to be the match was "Licorice Root Chinese Sticks Thin (Glycyrrhiza uralensis; Gan Cao) 1 lb: K"

The best thing this site could do is provide an actual photo of each type, i.e. "Thin"; "Thick" and "Whole".
Based on their photos, I think "Whole" means "slliced" while "thick" means "whole"...

Anyway, the picture of the "thin" sticks looked like what I wanted:Chinese Licorice Root Sticks Thin

The price was $17.10 (plus $7 in shipping) for one pound in "Frontier's nitrogen-flushed double wall silverfoil pack."

It's a bit pricy, but it's what I wanted.

As desribed on the site "Kalyx (K) fulfillment center is Frontier Natural Brands.
All our Frontier products come to you fresh direct from Frontier Natural Brands in Iowa.
Note that the mailing label shows the origin:

But the invoice shows ", Camden NY 13316" as the seller.

As described in came in a vacuum bag with the "Frontier" brand label:


And here are the sticks [click on photo or here to view enlargement]:

They're pretty good, though they taste a bit different than I remember. I'm wondering if maybe I had European (Glycyrrhiza glabra) licorice before? The sticks are a bit thinner than what I had in the past as well, and thinner than those illustrated on the web site. I'm wondering if they harvested them too early?

I'd be interested in trying the European (Glycyrrhiza glabra) but I want the same stick form, not the whole root (as pictured).

I'd also be interested in learning about trying to grow the root on my own. If you have any info, please add it to my Guestbook.


[1] Interestingly, as I was writing this article, I came across this: "Natives of the West Indies like to chew on licorice
sticks or on sugar cane stalks. Inspired by this, one doctor recommended that his patients chew licorice sticks to break the smoking habit. The idea has apparently been very successful. Ex-smokers like having something to chew on or hold in their mouths. The licorice stick is a safe substitute for a cigarette." [back to article]

[2] Related: Natural Ways to Combat Testosterone Loss in Aging Men