It is known as sweet root and is used to prepare various ayurvedic medicines. Its roots are used for preparing various drugs. Drugs prepared from mulethi are used to cure skin problems, jaundice, ulcers, bronchitis etc. It is perennial shrub with average height of 1-2m. Flowers are of purple to pale whitish blue in color having 0.8-1.2cm length. Fruits contain numerous seeds and are 2-3cm long. Roots are sweet in taste and have no odor. It is found throughout the world in Greek, China, Egypt and India and is native to parts of Asia and southern Europe. In India it is cultivated in Punjab and sub Himalayan tracts.
G. glabra: Found in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, central Asia and north-western part of China. There are three further varieties of G. glabra viz. Spanish and Italian licorice (G. glabra var. typical), Russia licorice (G.glabra var. glandulifera)and Persian and Turkish licorice (G.glabra var. violacea).
G. uralensis: Found in central Asia, north-western and eastern parts of China and Mongolia.
G.inflata: Found only in north eastern parts and autonomous region of China-the Xinjiang Uygur.
Prepare nursery in the month of January to February. The planting can be done in February – March or July – August.Spacing
Plant spacing should be 90 x 45cm.Method of sowing
Direct sowing or transplanting.
For good growth of plant use stem cutting 100-120kg/acre. The beds should be 6-8cm deep.
After sowing light irrigations must be done during spring. Irrigations should be done frequently until roots/stems establish themselves in soil. The planting can be done in February – March or July – August.
Pest and their control:
Spider mites: They invade the foliage usually in dry summers.
Spraying water to foliage helps to get rid from this disease.
Slugs: The slugs affect the plant by feeding themselves on green leaves. Application of copper wire or diatomaceous earth is used to make barrier around plant.
Caterpillars: Caterpillars feed themselves on green leaves as a result they affect plant.
Application of Bacillus thuringiensis or spraying of neem oil helps to get rid of caterpillars.
Disease and their control
Powdery mildew: It is a fungal disease which affects the leaves of the plant causing white spots.
Application of potassium bicarbonate is done to kill powdery mildew.
Plant starts yielding by two and a half year to three years. Harvesting is done depending upon purpose like for fresh market, long distance transport etc. Harvesting is mainly done in winters (November or December) to obtain high glycyrrhizic acid content. For processing, roots are used.
After harvesting the roots are sun dried and then grading is done. The roots are packed in air-tight bags. From dried roots several products like tea, powder, supplements etc. are made after processing.
1.Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana
2.Department of Agriculture
3.Indian Agricultural Research Instittute, New Delhi
4.Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research
5.Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare