View Full Version : Licorice Root

02-01-2009, 03:44 PM

link to buying licorice root I did on a trip to China town ijn NYC find some but in small quanities 2oz for about 2.95 on this site

02-01-2009, 06:25 PM
Phooey. It's cut up. Good find, though. Don't think the raw licorice would be an ingredient in Federal or Confederate armies, but it shows up in citizen apothecaries as a flavoring. Definitely found in confectioneries, though.

02-01-2009, 10:01 PM
From Harry Aycock:
For the record. Licorice Root does not appear in "Resources of the Southern Fields and forests" by Dr F. P. Porcher, DeBow's Review, August 1861.

It does not appear in "General Directions for Collecting and Drying Medicinal Substances of the Vegetable Kingdom," Surgeon General's Office, Richmond, March 1862.

It does not appear in "Standard Supply Table of the Indigenous Remedies for Field Service and the Sick in General Hospitals." Surgeon General's Office, Richmond, 1863.

Pulveris Glycyrrhizae appears in the standard supply table for General and Post Hospitals only.

The other documented use I can find for licorice root or Pulveris Glycyrrhiza which is used in the manufacture of Blue Mass as documented by quarterly report of the Medical Laboratory at Columbia for 3rd Quarter 1863 found in the compiled Military Service Record of Julian J. Chisolm.

Extracti Glycyrrhizae appears in both the Standard Supply Table for General and Post Hospitals as well as the Standard Supply Table for Field Service. It remained on these lists through the 1864 edition of the Regulations for the Confederate States Army.

Extracti Glycyrrhizae was issued to the 31st VA Infantry August 27, 1861.

I checked the semi-annual medical invoices for the 66th NC Infantry found in "A Darkness Ablaze" and Extracti Glycyrrhizae is not listed. Extracti Glycyrrhizae is also not listed in the contents of as regimental medicine chest listed by Chisolm in his 3rd Edition of "A Manual of Military Surgery," Columbia, 1864.

Five medicine Chests issued by the same purveyor in Richmond April 21 ,1862 did not contain Extracti Glycyrrhizae.

Also the medicine chest issued to Dr. Howard of Jones' Artillery Batlaion on March 30, 1863 did not contain Extracti Glycyrrhizae.

Based on these facts and documents, Extracti Glycyrrhizae would be correct for 1861 Confederate Regimental Medicine Chests but not as correct for 1862 and later chests, even though it appeared in regulations and printed on forms. The fact that Purveyor Chisolm omitted it from his manual and that the extract was not being made at his laboratory in 3rd quartere 1863, even thought the root was on hand to make blue mass, leads me to believe Extracti Glycyrrhizae was no longer being produced at the medical laboratories with existing stores being issued and exhausted sometime over the winter of 61-62.

Harry Aycock
Asst Surgeon

Maryland Flying Artillery
Pratt Street Mess

02-01-2009, 10:37 PM
I think that unless we raise it and dig it up--------- choped is as close as your gonna get Noah looking at it it almost looks like dried ginger dont it ? keck i would have thought something like a black tary, twisty root looking thing .

02-01-2009, 11:56 PM
The article in Civil War Historian about candy had a picture of a licorice stick, as in chewing the branch. Great breath freshener. So is black birch.

02-02-2009, 07:54 AM
Here's a mention of licorice at the U.S. Army lab at Astoria, showing its minor amount compared to other medicines:


However, it's not clear whether the ground licorice was used on site to compound other medicines, or shipped in its ground form.

From Harry Aycock:
For the record. Licorice Root does not appear in "Resources of the Southern Fields and forests" by Dr F. P. Porcher, DeBow's Review, August 1861.

It does not appear in "General Directions for Collecting and Drying Medicinal Substances of the Vegetable Kingdom," Surgeon General's Office, Richmond, March 1862.

It was mentioned in passing in those booklets, but were there really any indigenous varieties recognized? I wonder if the problem was that people assumed licorice came from Spain or Italy, and there were only sporadic attempts to cultivate it here, so the most one could find here would be something else indigenous as a substitute, and since it wasn't a major medicine, there was less impetus to look for one. Here's the only mention of licorice in "General Directions for Collecting and Drying...":

The root of the Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is thought to resemble liquorice in its taste and external qualities, and may partially supply the place of that article. The powder of the root is innocuous, and may be used as a drying powder in the preparation of pills.

Here's what Porcher had to say (from the 1863 edition):

Glycyrrhiza glabra liquorice. Exotic. I am uncertain as to the position of this genus in the natural system. This plant is said to be well adapted to the southern states of the Confederacy. It has been grown in Texas. Information as to the best mode of planting and culture can be found in a paper in Patent Office Rep. 1854, p. 359. I append the following practical remarks: "The sooner liquorice is sold the heavier it weighs; and the greener it is the more virtue it contains. It is sold in three distinct forms, viz: in the roots, in powder, and in its inspissated juice. The first of these needs no explanation. The second is prepared by cutting the small roots into small pieces, drying them in an oven or kiln, and grinding them in a mill. The third kind is prepared by pounding the smaller roots and fragments with cold water for nearly two days; after which the pulp is to be squeezed, and the juice boiled down in an iron pot to a pitchy consistence, and then rolled or stamped into sticks or cakes, which are sometimes sold under the name of 'Spanish Liquorice.' Liquorice roots will keep a year if laid in sand, and stored in a cool, dry cellar; and if the sets, or runners, or buds, are cut ready for planting, tied in bundles, and sent by land carriage, they will keep a fortnight. If packed in sand, and sent by water, they will keep some three or four months, especially the more hardy buds." In the Patent Office Reports for 1854, '55, the cultivation of a number of medicinal plants is described, particularly those yielding aromatic oils.

When Porcher says it has been grown in Texas, he's probably referring to this:

HARRISON FLAG [MARSHALL, TX], December 15, 1860, p. 1, c. 4
Liquorice.—Mr. Poinsard has left with us a bundle of roots of this plant, which he has introduced from France. Of all the plants imported, one alone survived, so luxuriant was its growth, that it radiates, notwithstanding the drouth, covering the ground for a circumference of fifteen feet, proving that irrigation is not necessary to its successful growth.
Indeed so eminently successful has Mr. Poinsard been, both in relation to its acclimature and culture, that he looks forward to the liquorice root becoming speedily as much an article of export from Western Texas, as Ginseng is from Minnesota.—San Antonio Ledger.

Porcher also mentions "Aralia nudicaulis, Mx. Wild sarsaparilla; wild liquorice. Mountains of South Carolina," but talks about it more as a substitute for sarsaparilla than licorice, and indeed it shows up in the 1858 U.S. Dispensatory also as "false sarsaparilla."

The Dispensatory also mentions Glycyrrhiza lepidota growing in the region of St. Louis, which Porcher mentions in his post-war edition.

Hank Trent

Regular DOC
02-02-2009, 12:22 PM
Most home brewing shops will carry licorice root. however as has been pointed out it is chopped. In addition they can also carry some of the other ones you can't get normally.