In Sanskrit, it is called ‘Malathi’ or ‘sweet stalk’. The Greeks named it ‘sweet root’ and the Chinese call it ‘gan cao’, which means ‘sweet grass’. This intense sweetness can be traced to glycyrrhizic acid, a multipurpose molecule that consists of two sugar moieties. The varied properties of the molecule have led to the surprising mix of products that contain licorice today: medicines, cough syrups, herbal supplements, gum, drinks and, of course, candy. Glycyrrhizic acid resides naturally in the root of the licorice plant. Licorice is a shrubby, woody-rooted plant with feathery leaves and light blue-violet flowers. It grows in the wild in many Middle Eastern, European, and Western Asian countries. The branching roots grow down as far as 3 feet and out laterally up to 20 feet. The root is harvested, dried, and sold to licorice processors. Licorice helps to heal ulcers and extends the life of prostaglandins that protect the stomach wall. The effect on prostaglandins may also explain why licorice helps soothe a cough. The aroma and flavor is sweet and comforting, reminiscent of anise or fennel, but considerably stronger. Caffeine free.