Rosemary & licorice root: (Good for you)

The herb rosemary was perhaps made most famous in the song "Scarborough Fair," but even before it was immortalized in melody it was part of every good cook's kitchen repertoire. It has long been a necessity in the preparation of some gourmet chicken and turkey dishes, and has been used for centuries to prevent poultry from spoiling. Now, however, the reason for its anti-spoiling effectiveness is known: rosemary contains many phytochemicals, including natural plant anti-oxidants that prevent fats from going rancid. It is this "spoiling" activity of fats in the human body that is believed to play a part in many diseases. Thus, rosemary may not only taste good and prevent poultry from spoiling--it may have a role in preventing you from "spoiling," too!

Among the many promising results of the research reported at a Designer Foods symposium recently:

* Licorice root extract is intensely sweet-tasting, yet it contains no calories. Thus it may hold promise for flavoring "sweet-tooth satisfying" foods that do not contain high amounts of sugar.
* Licorice root extract may have properties that prevent tooth decay and gum disease, two major "plagues" that cause pain, cost money, and may undercut proper nutrition, especially (but not only) in the elderly.
* Licorice phytochemicals have shown to be effective in preventing breast cancer when used in animal model experiments.
* Licorice root extract, while non-toxic in itself, has shown promising activity against HIV (human immuno-suppressive virus) in clinical human trials in Japan.
* Licorice root extract is thought to be one of the best anti-inflammatories and is currently available for use in ulcer treatment in Europe.

These results seem to suggest that licorice root extract may have an extraordinarily wide range of benefits to offer both in the prevention of disease and, perhaps, in disease treatment. As a result, this sweet substance continues to be investigated all over the world by researchers working to develop designer foods based on its remarkable potential properties.

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by Bob Kennedy

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