Sweet, hard, good for the teeth and filled with subtle medicinal properties, the licorice sticks of which I speak are the actual dried roots of the licorice plant cut in five- to six-inch long pieces. Yep, you may look like a true child of nature as you chew on your old tree roots, so take care not to chomp on one in business meetings.
If you know anyone giving up cigarettes, tell them to start chewing real roots of licorice at their earliest convenience. Licorice roots are helpful to dieters looking for something to gnaw. I even have a friend who gives them to her kindergarten-aged daughter (though I don’t think they’re right for teething babies since frayed pieces of wood can soften and break off in the mouth).
Here’s an article that will tell you more about the history of real licorice sticks (they were once considered good toothbrushes in Africa and India). Look for them bagged at any health food store, or try this online source.