Licorice, as a nutritional plant extensively used in food fields, grows in various origins of the world as wild and cultivated types. But existing methods were not adequate for quality estimation of licorice samples from multiple sources till date. In the present research, HPLC, UV and FT-IR were applied together to establish fingerprint profiles of licorice (
L.) samples. Then, an appropriate quantitative method was adopted to evaluate their qualities. Furthermore, eight active chemical compositions and the potential antioxidant capacities of licorice samples were determined, and their intrinsic characteristics were excavated by chemometric methods. The results showed that the ingredient content and antioxidant capacity of licorice were closely related to the origin and growth type, and the established method was capable of accurately classifying wild and cultivated licorice samples from nine habitats into five quality grades. This study provides a novel and comprehensive strategy for food quality assessment.