Added to various herb teas, licorice not only acts as a sweetener and renders harsher flavours more pleasant, but also may convert a Yin influence to a Yang one. Wonderful for the liver and the stomach, it is a very soothing laxative for old and young, soothes coughs and inflamed throats, and eases stomach and intestinal cramps and severe constipation. In China, it is also used to combat irregular menstruation, infertility in women, tuberculosis, pneumonia and pleurisy. The root is used in China in its natural state, but in the West it is advisable to buy the licorice sticks (made from the juice of the root after it has been crushed and boiled) sold by herbalists and health shops.
Add one three-inch stick of licorice to half a pint of hot water and allow to dissolve; if you prefer, add a little honey or soya sauce. Drink a small wineglassful about thirty minutes before a meal.