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A fugitive brown extract obtained from the roots of the Spanish licorice plant, Glycyrrhiza glabra native to southern Europe. Licorice is composed of a glycoside, an estrogenic hormone, sugar, and a saponin. It is water soluble and forms a sticky, viscous fluid. The saponin extract from licorice is used in fire extinguishers and it is added to fiber-based insulated building boards as an insect repellent. Licorice was sometimes added to bister to improve its working properties. The brown liquid was also used as a thin, transparent glaze for paintings.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Glycyrrhiza glabra; sweet root; Spanish licorice; Spanish juice

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in water.

Resources and Citations

  • R.White "Brown and Black Organic Glazes, Pigments and Paints" National Gallery Technical Bulletin, 10:58-71, 1986.
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 4514