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Licorice - The black gold of the Licorice root

The history of the popular licorice root, the sap of which is used to make licorice goes back several thousand years. What we now know as a sweet, herbal or salty treat, depending on the added ingredients, was considered medicine until the 18th century. Liorice was primarily used for colds and upset stomach. Licorice is mentioned in traditional Chinese herbal books and in Egyptian papyrus scrolls and was even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun (1347–1339 BC)

Thirst quenchers and marching fodder for the military

Durstlöscher und Marschverpflegung fürs Militär

Theophrast (369–285 BC), a pupil of Aristoteles and founder of botanics described the ability of the licorice root to act as a thirst quencher. The armies of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) are said to have survived long campaigns in part without water because they had supplies of licorice instead. Later, the Roman legionnaires included licorice as a permanent component of their daily rations. French and Turkish soldiers carried licorice in their packs even in the First World War.

From medicine to sweet

Lakritz Medizin

Many ancient Greek and Roman doctors prized licorice root as a medicine for coughs and colds. In the Middle Ages, licorice was even ascribed magical properties and was considered a wonder medicine. During the renaissance, licorice the "sweet medicine" became almost popular. A botanical specialist book from the 17th century describes the licorice plant in detail and the applications for the concoction made from the root.

Lakritz Pontefract Dunhills

In 1760, the English chemist George Dunhill added sugar and other ingredients to the licorice root extract. This was the birth of licorice as a sweet treat.

At HARIBO, licorice products have been in production since 1925 and are some of the most popular HARIBO treats worldwide. Pontefract Cakes have been produced by HARIBO in the UK since 1972.


The production process

Fruchtgummi Herstellung

How the Gold-Bears get into the bag

Find out more about production

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