A rough looking plant, cultivated in many places for the sake of the root. It is a yard high or more. The stalk is round, striated, and branched: the leaves are long and large, each is composed of a great many pairs of smaller, standing on a middle rib, with an odd one at the end; these are of an oval figure, of a dusky green colour, and they are clammy to the touch. The flowers are very small and blue, they stand in long spikes, rising from the bosoms of the leaves. The seeds are contained in pods. The root is the part used; and its virtues are very great. It is best fresh taken out of the ground, the sweetness of its taste renders it agreeable, and it is excellent against coughs, hoarsenesses, and shortness of breath. It also works gently by urine, and is of service in ulcerations of the kidneys and urinary passages, acting there as in lungs at once, as a detergent and balsamic.
The best way of taking it is by sucking or chewing the fresh root: but it may be taken in infusion, or in the manner of tea. The black substance called liquorice juice, and Spanish liquorice, is made by evaporating a strong decoction of this root. But the fresh root itself is better.