People have a pretty polarising view of liquorice candy; they either love the stuff or hate it with a vengeance. Oddly, while liquorice is mostly associated with those tough and chewy, twisty sticks of candy these days, the plant has actually long been revered by communities around the world for its benefits to health.

In fact, archaeologists uncovered significant quantities of liquorice root inside Tutankhamun’s tomb, sealed alongside his many other treasures. Mai sus, a sweet concoction made from liquorice root was a well-loved beverage during that period and is still enjoyed by Egyptians to this day. From Europe to Asia to the Mediterranean, there has been plenty to indicate that liquorice has been enjoyed around the world for centuries.

Liquorice is far from being just another piece of candy. You may be surprised by just how widely used liquorice root is when it comes to today’s health and skincare products.

Liquorice root is a potent herb that is also very much favoured by Ayurvedic practitioners. The root has been used in various herbal remedies that either nourish, rejuvenate, calm or strengthen our bodies. For instance, a dash of liquorice powder in hot water with ginger provides both digestive and respiratory support.

Liquorice extracts are found to have powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic and antiviral properties, which is why they are also used in the treatment of certain skin diseases such as eczema.


Liquorice Root: A Natural Skin and Hair Enhancer

The benefits of liquorice root for skin and hair is well-established and you’ll find that many skincare products on the market commonly contain liquorice root extracts.

If you have an oily complexion, liquorice root may be the herb for you as the extract contains the antioxidant known as lichochalcone, which may help to regulate your skin’s sebum production. The extract is also purported to be great for treating sensitive skin and can also serve as a mild sunscreen, working as a barrier against UVA and UVB rays.

Liquorice has a natural skin brightening and smoothing action; the root also blocks the production of melanin. The use of creams, cleansers and moisturisers that contain the extract can do a lot to help reduce liver spots, lessen skin discolouration and eliminate those annoying dark eye circles. In fact, a recent study conducted on animal skin (mainly those of the guinea pig) found that the topical application of the natural phenol glabridin (an extract of liquorice root) successfully kept pigmentation that is caused by sun exposure at bay.

These days, women are more likely to look for skin and hair treatment solutions in beautifully packaged (and pricey) products. However, these products can often contain harsh chemicals that may end up doing you more harm than good, particularly for those who are suffering from sensitive or problem skin.

In Ayurvedic skincare, it is believed that the use of various combinations of natural herbs, liquorice root included, can help to improve your skin tone and give you the flawless complexion you desire without the harmful effects of artificial ingredients.

Traditionally, a serum is made with liquorice root that is safe and effective for all skin types, and will not cause any irritation.

Here’s a simple recipe for a homemade face pack that promises to deliver a skin-lightening and brightening effect.


A Liquorice Mask For Radiant Skin

Slice up some cucumber (known for their hydrating and soothing properties) and blend it well with some liquorice extract. Only apply to the areas of your skin that have dark patches and liver spots.


Far from a Hairy Situation

It seems that liquorice root can do wonders for your tresses as well. The plant is replete with a massive amount of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for healthy and lustrous hair. These include vitamin B, phosphorous, potassium, choline, protein, flavonoid, phytoestrogen, oil and amines.

Liquorice root is used to keep the scalp healthy and moisturised, treat dandruff, prevent hair loss as well as encourage hair growth. While there are liquorice root supplements available in capsule and tablet form for oral consumption, you can also make a simple liquorice root tea that you can drink or apply to the hair and scalp.


Liquorice Root Tea

The ingredients include one teaspoon of dried liquorice root and 120 ml of water. Heat water on medium heat. Add the liquorice root when the water becomes hot (not boiling), add the liquorice root. When the tea comes to a boil, switch off the fire and allow it to steep for five more minutes. To drink the tea or to use it as a topical scalp treatment, you will first need to strain the tea into a cup.

For a scalp treatment that moisturises and promotes hair growth at the same time, massage the tea along with a dash of coconut oil on your scalp. Leave the mask on for about an hour before rinsing off completely.