This is another tisane, commonly consumed in China where it is known as Gān Cǎo 甘草 (sweet herb). It is made out of the roots of the liquorice plant (Glycyrrhizu gluhru) which has been considered medicinal in traditional Chinese medicine. It is interesting to note that liquorice root tea was also consumed in ancient Egypt as a popular soft drink and offered to pharaohs.
In China, liquorice is mainly produced in Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Gansu and Xinjiang regions. The roots are collected in the early spring or late autumn. After the fibrous roots are removed, they are dried in the sun. According to Chinese Materia Medica, solid and starchy roots with the less wrinkled and reddish coloured outer skin and with yellowish-white cross-sections are of good quality.
There is a long list of clinical applications for liquorice root tea in Chinese Materia Medica. I will not go into detail. The same source mentions that “it mainly enters the spleen and lung channels, but also, the stomach and heart channels. It tonifies Qi, alleviates pain and moderates the harsh properties of other herbs. It can also dispel phlegm, arrest cough and reduce toxins. The honey-fried the herb is slightly warm with a better effect of tonifying qi and alleviating pain, while the unprepared herb is slightly cool with the effect of clearing heat and toxins.”
According to scientific research in this article, liquorice roots extract has been proved to possess many pharmacological effects such as antibiotic effect, antiestrogenic, anti-inflammatory, antidote, antiulcer, antiallergic and antitumor effects. The same article concludes that liquorice administered to rats with high cholesterol level can improve the impaired function of both liver and kidney.
Well, it is not very common for a tisane, but this tea tastes fine. It has some nutty and woody notes but also pleasant sweetness. I understand why this was a popular drink in ancient Egypt and probably for the same reason I see it in every health tea mixture in China.
Source: Chinese Materia Medica,
Harvest time: 2019?
Leaf colour: Light woody rings
Liquor colour: Pale yellow
Tea aroma: Woody
Tea taste: Sweet with nutty and woody notes
Steeping/brewing: Place 6 g of this tea in a teapot and add about 100 ml water at around 100°C. Rinse after 5 sec. Steep for 30 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10 seconds each time. You can steep this tea three or four times.
Shelf life: 2-3 years