LIQUORICE. The glycirrhiza, or common liquorice shrub, has a long, thick, creeping root, striking several feet deep into the ground ; an upright, firm, herbaceous, annual stalk, three or four feet high, garnished with winged leaves, of four or five pair of oval lobes, termi nated by an odd one : and from the axil las, erect spikes of pale blue flowers in July', succeeded by shortsmooth pods. The root of this plant is the useful part, being replete with a sweet, balsamic, pectoral juice, which is either extracted, or the wood sold in substance. It is much used n all compositions for coughs, and disor ders of the stomach; but by far the great est quantity is used by brewers. The common liquorice is cultivated in most c•ntries of Europe, for the sake of its root ; but in Spain and Italy, and particu larly in Sicily and Calabria, it makes a considerable article of commerce with this country. In Calabria, liquorice is chiefly manufactured, and exported from Corigliano, Rossano, Cassano, and Paler mo. The Calabriari liquorice, upon the
whole, is preferable to that coming from Sicily, and the Italian paste to that com ing from Spain. Liquorice also grows in great abundance in the Levant ; and vast quantities of it are consumed there, in making a decoction, which is drank cold in the summer, in the manner of sherbet.
To prepare liquorice, the roots are boiled a long time in water, till the fluid has got a deep yellow tincture ; and the water at length evaporated till the remains acquire a consistency, when they are formed into sticks, which are packed up with bay leaves, in the same order as we receive them. The boiling requires the utmost care and pre caution, as the juice takes an unpleasant smell and flavour, if burnt in the least degree.