Licorice tea is a gourmet, herbal tea make from the root of the perennial licorice plant. Sold in loose leaf form or in tea bags, this tea is considered an occasional dessert drink and health tonic. Glycrrhic acid and glycrrhizin, two sugars found in licorice roots, make this tea extremely sweet. Herbalists claim licorice root is 50 times as sweet as sugar cane. The sugar content is one of several detrimental features of licorice tea that prevent it from being a long-term, regularly consumed drink for most users; however, as an infrequent treat, this herbal tea does convey health benefits.
Dried, chipped-off pieces of the licorice plant create the basis for licorice tea. To balance and complement the naturally sweet taste, this tea is frequently merged with spices such as mint, cinnamon, or vanilla. Sometimes, orange and sarsaparilla are added to the tea mix. One teaspoon (5 ml) of dried tea is generally steeped in steaming hot water for roughly seven minutes, depending on the strength level and flavor desired.
Leftover steeped tea is often used for children’s desserts. Some families make licorice tea popsicles by pouring the tea in an empty ice tray with chopped fruits, such as strawberries. Once wrapped in cellophane, wooden or plastic sticks can be inserted to create the frozen snacks. Other recipes suggest using leftover tea in homemade fruit cups instead of syrup. Despite its sugar content, the tea is low in calories or kilojoules.
Licorice tea, which is loaded with B vitamins and cancer-fighting alkaloids, is not just for culinary pleasure. While formal research has not verified generations of folk wisdom and drinker accounts, herbalists strongly claim the licorice root tea can stop diarrhea, end sore throats, and soothe ulcers by coating the stomach lining. Some reports claim that staph infections can be treated with this antibacterial tea. It is a purported laxative; as a diuretic, it is often used by women seeking relief from premenstrual bloat. Those seeking these medical benefits from this tea typically imbibe two to three servings a day for roughly three days.
It is possible to take too much licorice tea. In excess, this tea has been known to cause hypertension and high blood sugar. In addition to these serious side effects, the tea can cause the body to lose too much potassium. Nature does include potassium in the nutritional makeup of licorice tea, but that amount may not be enough to balance the loss.
Most herbalists suggest that drinking the tea a few times a week for no more than four straight months might be permissible for someone in great health. Children generally should not have this tea or related tea snacks for more than two days in a row, according to nutritionists. Those with diabetes, glaucoma, and vertigo are advised by some dieticians to completely avoid this tea. A person drinking licorice tea regularly can monitor their blood pressure and blood sugar if they are worried about side effects.