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The liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, locally also called "bear droppings"), which is native to the Mediterranean region and Western Asia, is a perennial of the legume family, subfamily butterfly flowers. Only in late summer do bluish-violet and white butterfly flowers appear in short, upright ears. The roots harvested in autumn are used to make the liquorice candy. Since ancient times the healing effect on certain diseases has been known (expectorant and antispasmodic). The Greeks and Romans used the juice (Succus Liquiritiae) to treat stomach ulcers and asthma. A root was also found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tut-Ench-Amun. The root bark contains glycyrrhizin (a glycoside), which gives liquorice its characteristic sweet-spicy and warming taste and has a 50 times stronger sweetening power than cane sugar. Certain red wines or grape varieties have this easily recognisable taste, such as Barolo (from Nebbiolo) and wines from the South African variety Pinotage.

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