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Liquorice - the black gold of the liquorice root

The history of the popular liquorice or liquorice root, the sap of which is used to make liquorice 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. Liquorice was primarily used for colds and stomach upsets. Liquorice is mentioned in traditional Chinese herbal books and in Egyptian papyrus scrolls, it was even found in the tomb of Tutankhamun (1347–1339 before Christ)-

Thirst quenchers and marching fodder for the military

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

From medicine to sweet

Many ancient Greek and Roman doctors prized liquorice root as a medicine for coughs, colds and catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes). In the Middle Ages, liquorice was even ascribed magical properties and was considered a wonder medicine. And during the renaissance, liquorice the "sweet medicine" became almost popular. A botanical specialist book from the 17th century describes the liquorice plant in detail and the applications for the decoction made from the root.

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


At HARIBO; liquorice products have been in production since 1925. Whether as a wheel or as confectionary, whether a sugar-coated sweet or salty, HARIBO liquorice products are some of the most popular treats of all. Since 1972, "Dunhills Limited" and their "Pontefract Cakes" have been part of the HARIBO group.


The production process

How the GOLDBEARS get into the bag

Find out more about the production
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