The licorice plant is a legume (like beans and peas) that is native to parts of Asia and Southern Europe. It has somewhat of a sweet flavor, but isn’t related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which have similar tastes. Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizic acid. Many herbalists use licorice root as a natural alternative to hydrocortisone. Licorice root also contains chemicals that may help the body recover. It is an adrenal tonic, which is good for quitting smoking, since it rejuvenates energy and soothes the lungs.