Black licorice candies are extremely easy to identify, but what makes them taste as they do is less obvious. Licorice root is where they got their name originally, but these days they’re often flavored using anise instead.

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You may be wondering, “Anise vs licorice – what’s the difference?” Anise and licorice are popular ingredients that have numerous health benefits. Anise is in the parsley family and tastes similar to licorice. Anise is most commonly consumed as a tea. Licorice is a legume that is most commonly sold as a powder, loose herb, or liquid extract.

Anise and licorice have both subtle and obvious differences and similarities, and we compare them all for you in this article.


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If you find yourself with the herbs, your best solution is to make it into a tea.

It’s possible, though unlikely, that you can find the whole plant and be tempted into chewing licorice root.

This has been done throughout history more or less safely, but it can be difficult to track how much you’re consuming at a time and there have been many people who end up mindlessly chewing it too regularly and doing more harm than good.

Licorice powder, like our favorite from Banyan Botanicals, is a popular way to purchase the plant if your primary concern is topical.

You can blend it with your moisturizer, a gel, or a skin safe oil like coconut oil to rub over an affected area.

If you do oil pulling for your oral health, you can also mix some powder in your oil for pulling.

Summary Chart: Anise Vs Licorice

CriteriaAniseLicorice
PlantPart of the parsley family, the seeds grow inside dainty white flowers that bloom all year The Glycyrrhiza Glabra plant is part of the legume family, prized mainly for its potent root
FlavorTastes like licorice Tastes like anise
Most popular usageTea or spiced baked goods, more recently to flavor black licorice candies Tea, medicinal extracts and tablets and, historically to flavor black licorice candies
Health BenefitsMay improve depression, menopause, and inflammation Primarily used to soothe digestive issues, but is also useful topically due to the antimicrobial and antifungal properties
Side EffectsVery rare, but may possibly aggravate estrogen sensitivities Can cause heart irregularities and lower potassium

Related Questions

What are the licorice benefits for skin?

Licorice root has fantastic antibacterial properties which makes it effective for treating small skin wounds or conditions like eczema. Some people even gargle with it to clear up oral infections and prevent decay.

If you find powdered licorice root, you can combine it with a gel or carrier oil to apply topically, and it’s even been shown to have results for clearing up acne without over-the-counter drugs.

How much licorice is safe?

With licorice, it’s consistent long-term usage you want to be careful about. If you’re using it for health reasons, keep your daily dosage below 2 ounces or about 57 grams.

For safety sakes, it’s best to limit your intake to no more than 30 mg per day.

If you have a history of heart problems but want the digestive benefits, you can find a product called DGL, which is licorice root with the potentially troublesome glycyrrhizin removed, though you should still limit your intake to 5 grams per day.

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What is a licorice tasting vegetable?

Fennel. Fennel is a root vegetable that looks very similar to celery, with an edible root, stalks, and leaves, but it imparts a distinctly licorice-like flavor to everything it is eaten or cooked with.