Licorice is an herb that is native to the Mediterranean, southern and central Russia, and Asia Minor to Iran. Many species are now grown throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which can cause complications when eaten in large quantities. Many "licorice" products manufactured in the U.S. actually don't contain any licorice. Instead, they contain anise oil, which has the characteristic smell and taste of "black licorice."