Can you have a smoothie for dessert? Sure – especially when it actually helps to digest the dinner we just had!
This thick, creamy, icy smoothie is rich and sweet, and is made with my all time favourite herb – licorice root. Licorice – and in latin – Glycyrrhiza, was named by the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides, and literally means sweet root. How sweet is that!
Licorice Root – a powerful Adaptogen
Licorice root is a sweet tasting herb that is known as an adaptogen – a non toxic natural substance that equips the body with a nonspecific resistance to stress – meaning it helps us adapt to our physical, emotional or environmental circumstance.
It shares this title with other yummy super foods such as goji berries, maca, holy basil (tulsi) and ginseng.
I’ve had a love affair with licorice purely for its ability to ease gastric distress. It can stop diarrhea, ease bloating, and soothe the tummies of those with irritable or inflammatory bowel. This in part is due to its adaptogenic effect – as it can reduce an over reactive immune system (as is the case of auto immune disorders). Licorice root is anti-inflammatory and an anti-spasmodic, relaxing muscles within the gastrointestinal tract.
A random tangent here – but I once did a water fast, and had a terrible, dry mouth full of ulcers at the end of it. As licorice is a soothing demulcent, a gargle with the tincture got rid of those nasties in a few days, and they had been driving me nuts for weeks. According to Master Herbalist, Ron Teaguarden, it has traditionally been used as an anti-ulcer agent.
I usually like to enjoy a cup of organic licorice tea after dinner to help the meal go down, but then came up with this genius idea to make a dessert that was scrummy and indulgent but would have the same effect…. So here it is…
Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. David Winston and Steven Maimes. 2007.
The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs. Ron Teeguarden. 1998.
Licorice, Fig, Vanilla and Coconut Smoothie
2 tablespoons cashews
2 tablespoons fine desiccated coconut
1 cup water
½ teaspoon licorice root powder
1 vanilla bean, chopped
3 dried figs
Pinch of coarse sea salt
A few ice cubes
- Blend the first three ingredients well till really creamy. This will make a nice thick milk but will heat up in the blender, so pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes before you add the rest of the ingredients
- Once chilled, add the rest of the ingredients and blend well
- You should now have a nice and thick, sweet, icy smoothie! Cheers!
Licorice root does have a few contraindications so please consult with your health care practitioner if you are unsure whether it is for you or not.