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Observations placeholder

Mrs Grieve on Liquorice



Type of Spiritual Experience


A demulcent (derived from the Latin: demulcere "caress") is an agent that forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation of the membrane. Demulcents are sometimes referred to as mucoprotective agents. Demulcents  are common ingredients in cough mixtures.

Linseed is flax seed oil, raisins are dried grapes


A description of the experience


---Medicinal Action and Uses---The action of Liquorice is demulcent, moderately pectoral and emollient.

It is a popular and well-known remedy for coughs, consumption and chest complaints generally, notably bronchitis, and is an ingredient in almost all popular cough medicines on account of its valuable soothing properties.

The Extract enters into the composition of cough lozenges and pastilles, with sedatives and expectorants. It is largely used in conjunction with infusion of linseed in the treatment of irritable cough, sore throat and laryngitis, and an infusion made by boiling 1 OZ. of the bruised root deprived of its bark, with 1 pint of water for a few minutes, may be employed in the treatment of sore throat and in catarrhal conditions of the urinary intestinal tracts.

Beach mentions the following recipe as being used by the late Dr. Malone, of London, and speaks most highly of its efficacy:
'Take a large teaspoonful of Linseed, 1 ounce of Liquorice root, and 1/4 lb. of best raisins. Put them into 2 quarts of soft water and simmer down to 1 quart. Then add to it 1/4 lb. of brown sugar candy and a tablespoonful of white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Drink 1/2 pint when going to bed and take a little whenever the cough is troublesome.'

(N.B. - It is best to add the vinegar to that quantity which is required for immediate use.)

Fluid Extract of Liquorice is employed almost exclusively as a vehicle for disguising the taste of nauseous medicines, having a remarkable power of converting the flavour of acrid or bitter drugs, such as Mezereon, Quinine or Cascara.

The powdered root is useful in pill-making on account of its absorbent qualities, being used to impart stiffness to pill masses and to prevent the adhesion of pills.

As a remedial agent, powdered Liquorice root has been almost entirely replaced by the extract, though it is used in the well-known Compound Liquorice Powder, the mild laxative in which Senna and Fennel are the other ingredients. It is added mainly on account of its sweetness and emollient qualities, the action of the powder being mainly due to the Senna contained.

Liquorice was prescribed by early physicians from the time of Hippocrates, in cases of dropsy, to prevent thirst, for which it is an excellent thing, though probably the only sweet substance that has this effect. It is thought, however, that the property does not actually belong to the saccharine juice, but that if a piece of the root be chewed till all the juice is extracted, there remains a bitter, which acts on the salivary glands, and this may contribute to remove thirst.

The sugar of Liquorice may safely be taken by diabetic patients.

On the whole, Liquorice as a domestic medicine is far more largely used on the Continent than in Great Britain. It is much used in China and largely produced (both L. glabra and L. echinata) in some of the northern provinces, a variety of medicinal preparations being employed, not only as possessing tonic, alterative and expectorant properties, but also for the rejuvenating and highly nutritive qualities attributed to it.

It was recommended by Gervase Markham, a noted authority on husbandry and farriery in the early part of the seventeenth century, for the treatment of certain horses' ailments.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps