Licorice has been used as a medicine since the time of the Ancient Egyptians who chewed it and made tea with it. The Greeks would learn of licorice root from the Scythians and referred to it as Scythian root. Licorice root was used by the Romans as well. The Roman author and naturalist Pliny recommended licorice for clearing the voice and claimed that it could alleviate thirst and hunger. Dioscorides would instruct troops of Alexander the Great to use licorice root for relieving their thirst when they had limited access to water.
It is said that Buddha consumed licorice. Hannibal’s troops enjoyed licorice as they marched over the Alps and it is what blackened the teeth of Ivan the Terrible. The Chinese have used it for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments. Later on in history, Napoleon would be a fan of licorice root and chewed so much of it that it blackened his teeth.