Sugar jellybeans have very little nutritional benefits if at all. But if you're a fan of black jelly beans, or can tolerate the sharp peppery licorice taste, there's hope you can also use it for it's medicinal benefits, say scientists.
In fact, licorice – which the "hate 'em or love 'em" black jelly beans are supposed to taste like – actually posseses a wide range of health benefits. The licorice plant's extracts have long been used in a range of medicinal products that have helped treat everything from stomach problems to skin ailments. Here are just a few:
• Upper respiratory problems: Licorice is a good cough suppressant and is useful in battling sore throats, and coughs from colds, MedlinePlus reports. In powdered form, licorice has been used in many of the more commonly found cough syrups, according to Amsterdam News.
• Skin problems: Licorice is used for topical skin treatments to fight psoriasis and eczema. When used as a mouthwash, it can help eliminate canker sores, according to reports.
• Gastrointestinal problems: Licorice is used for gastrointestinal disorders, to fight peptic ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disorder and indigestion.
Licorice, which is known as "Glycyrrhiza glabra" in the scientific world, has also been used to reduce oiliness in hair, and to fight malaria, food poisoning, heartburn and colic. It's also been employed in the treatment of HIV, herpes simplex, hepatitis and HIV.
It's worth noting however that just becasae a jelly bean is black doesn't mean it contains elements of the medicinal plant. MedlinePlus reports that most of the licorice jelly beans in the United States don't contain any actual licorice: instead, they contain a less healthful and far cheaper anise oil substitute which is similar in taste and aroma to licorice.