From Greece to Egypt, and from China to India – where it’s used today in Ayurvedic practices – the versatile licorice herb is steeped in tradition.
The scientific name for licorice root, Glycyrrhiza, comes from "glukos" (sweet) and "riza" (root). And it’s a fitting name – the glycyrrhizin compound in licorice is 50 times sweeter than sugar.
So, it's no wonder that when many people think of licorice, they think of the confectionery by the same name. However, the candy you’ll find in the long black twists has hardly any connection to the health-supporting root.
Licorice is a perennial shrub native to the Mediterranean and subtropical regions of Asia. It has been prized for its nutritional and potential vitality properties for centuries.
In fact, its use has been found documented in Assyrian clay tablets, Egyptian papyri, Chinese texts and Indian Ayurvedic manuscripts – thousands of years ago.
Due to its low calories, density of vitamins and minerals, and high antioxidant content, consuming unprocessed organic licorice can powerfully support your health.
Licorice Packs a Punch with Powerful Benefits and Distinctive Flavor
Like many traditional herbs around the world, licorice contains a remarkable list of nutrients in a distinctively flavored package.
Intensely sweet, even pungent, with a slightly bitter edge to it, the flavor of licorice is reminiscent of fennel and anise. The root can be dried into sticks and chewed like candy.
Near the top of its list of nutrients is polyphenols. These are a class of phytochemicals, or natural plant chemicals with powerful antioxidant properties. Researchers have identified over 8,000 polyphenols, which can be broken down into four general categories (with additional subgroupings):
As a general rule, plants contain complex mixtures of different polyphenols, with higher levels often found in the outer layers of the plants.
Licorice root is one of the most extensively researched herbs on the planet. With the potential to promote healthy digestion and aid in weight management, it contains a wide variety of polyphenols, including the powerful flavonoids.
In their natural state, these polyphenols offer not only antioxidant properties but also adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are substances that support a healthy, balanced response to stress.
With so many licorice root options available on the marketplace today, it’s a good idea to be aware of the differences so you can get the highest quality.
Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice Takes Organic to the Next Level
In recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion about the way plants are grown. The shift from small family farms to huge industrial farms has raised concerns about decreasing nutrient values and depleted soils.
Researchers are finding that chemical-intensive farming practices cause erosion, acidification, salinization and loss of genetic diversity in the soil as well as release of greenhouse gases.
The damage is making it harder for soils to support the production of healthy foods.
Nearly a century ago, a group of farmers foresaw the possible damage chemical farming could do to crops and the earth. Together, they developed a set of standards to protect healthy, life-sustaining agriculture standards.
They established the Demeter organization and named those standards Biodynamic®.
Biodynamic agriculture has a lot in common with organic agriculture. Like organic, it doesn’t use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
But it goes even deeper, with biodynamic farmers pursuing the goal of regenerating and maximizing soil fertility, and making a farm completely self-sustaining.
Biodynamic farmers emphasize following the cycles of nature and returning life back to the soil. They do this by planting a diversity of crops and working to ensure all inputs (fertilizers, natural pest controls) come from within the farm.
Biodynamic farming is “regenerative organic” farming. It aims to regenerate the natural soil fertility and biodiversity that has been destroyed by modern agricultural methods, reinvigorating life on the planet from the soil up.
It’s important to note that many organic farmers recognize the importance of caring for their soil and may already be following a number of biodynamic practices.
Let’s take a closer look at how Demeter Certified Biodynamic® compares to the National Organic Program’s (NOP’s) Certified Organic standards:
|No limits on importing organic fertilizers from outside the farm
||Focused on the goal of producing nutrient-rich fertilizer within the farm, only a limited amount of fertilizer can be imported, and it must be Demeter® certified.
|Allows imported organic pesticides
||Manages pests by creating a biologically diverse habitat that encourages balanced predator-prey relationships
|Does not require the use of livestock
||Requires the integration of livestock to improve soils and help generate fertilizer within the farm
|Does not require crop rotation
||Requires crop rotation and intensive use of cover crops (called “green manure”) to pull carbon from the air and add nutrients to the soil
|Organic feed for livestock can come from anywhere in the world
||At least 50% of livestock feed must be grown on the farm, with the rest required to be organic or biodynamic
|Standard requiring farmers to “conserve biodiversity” can be poorly enforced, leading to the reality of monoculture in practice
||Requires that a minimum of 10% of total farm acreage be set aside for biodiversity
|Focused on how crops are treated, this standard allows for only one section of a farm to be certified, raising the potential for cross-contamination
||Focused on treating the whole farm as a living organism, this standard requires that the whole farm be certified
|Product certification focuses mainly on ingredients used
||Product certification uses 12 Biodynamic® processing standards so the agricultural ingredients used define the product
How Fermentation Helps Boost Antioxidant Activity
Licorice root contains a plethora of polyphenols, including flavonoids. In their natural state, these polyphenols contain both antioxidant properties and other potential vitality-supporting properties as well.
We wanted to enhance the concentrations and bioavailability of the numerous potentially nutritious and healthful polyphenols found in licorice root, so we chose to ferment our licorice to create Solspring™ Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice Powder.
Fermentation enhances many of the nutrients in licorice root. To measure the effect this had on our Solspring™ Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice, we conducted a study on several of the key polyphenols in the root.
We had the researchers evaluate levels of these polyphenols compared with two other types of licorice root: conventional (non-organic, unfermented) and unfermented Biodynamic®.
For the fermented vs. unfermented evaluation, we used samples from the same lot of Biodynamic® licorice. This allowed us to show exactly how the fermentation process enhances the antioxidant content. This type of detailed testing is the first of its kind.
Examples of Evaluated Polyphenol Content in Licorices
||Found in Conventional?
||Found in Biodynamic Unfermented?
||Found in Biodynamic FERMENTED?
||Yes – Up to 33 times Conventional and 15 times Biodynamic Unfermented
||Yes – Up to 8.5 times Biodynamic Unfermented
||Yes – Up to 4 times Conventional and Biodynamic Unfermented
||Yes – Up to 6 times Conventional and 3 times Biodynamic Unfermented
|Hydro Ferulic Acid
When the licorice was fermented, it showed increases in concentrations of polyphenols, plus conversion of 12 additional compounds into what’s called their “parental” forms, which are usually more active.
Both of these actions show increased antioxidant activity potential of fermented Biodynamic® licorice over its unfermented counterpart.
An example of this occurs with quercetin. During fermentation, the glycoside form of quercetin in the licorice root is converted to its aglycone form. This form of quercetin has been shown to exhibit greater antioxidant activity.
By enhancing Solspring™ Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice with fermentation, we’ve created a licorice product that’s the first of its kind.
Committed to Biodynamic® Sustainability and Helping Local Communities
Because we take pride in offering the highest quality products possible, we’re very selective when choosing our partners. Our Egyptian partner for Solspring™ Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice is steeped in a rich history that goes beyond simply providing high-quality licorice.
This exceptional supplier…
Is committed to sustainable development, with the aim to build a prosperous future for the surrounding communities in Egypt.
Continually strives to implement sustainability through a holistic approach that includes attention to the four dimensions of economy, ecology, cultural and societal life.
Uses a supply chain management approach that ensures they not only achieve long-term business relationships but also contribute to the development of supplying farmers and the improvement of living conditions throughout Egypt.
The independent Egyptian Biodynamic Association (EBDA) provides the training to enable participating farmers to meet Demeter Certified Biodynamic® standards.
By joining holistic biodynamic agriculture with processing companies in one closed value chain, our partner is able to produce the highest quality products with full transparency and traceability… for Egypt and the world.
Support Optimal Health with Flavorful, Antioxidant-Rich Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice
Licorice root has a long, tasty history as part of the herbal and culinary traditions of the Eastern Hemisphere, from China, to India, to the Mediterranean and Egypt.
With its antioxidant activity and distinctive sweet flavor, it provides a unique alternative for people looking to add sweetness to foods and smoothies without the downsides of processed sugar.
Solspring® Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice Powder brings you a one-of-a-kind licorice, with complex flavors nurtured in the rich soils of biodynamic Egyptian farms, enhanced with the added bioavailability benefits of fermentation.
This top-quality licorice powder can be used to season dishes, added to smoothies and baked goods, or dissolved in hot water for a unique, flavorful tea experience – no need to add sugar.
Be part of the biodynamic revolution and start enjoying the pungent sweetness and vitality benefits of Solspring™ Biodynamic® Fermented Licorice Powder today.