They used to sell the dried root of liquorice in chemists. I bought one once with my pocket money, much to the amusement of my parents, and spent one summer crushing the woody stump with my teeth trying to extract some, if any, liquorice taste from it. All I got for my trouble was a nasty woody, tree-barky kind of spit in my mouth which had a slight tang of liquorice.
I never really got the hang of the spit thing. I swallowed the pulpy juice once and gagged for a week, so ended up spitting the licqy-spit as far as I could, which wasn't as far as I'd have liked and I'd end up wearing a dark peaty-brown goatee beard flecked with slivers of tree root - I looked like a cross between Billy Connolly and Ray Mears.