Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)

Licorice Root Benefits

Licorice root has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal remedies. It is used for many ailments including asthma, athlete's foot, baldness, body odour, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis.

Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds and is an excellent alternative to St. John's Wort. As a herbal medicine it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders. Licorice is useful for many ailments including asthma, athlete's foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis.

Hundreds of potentially healing substances have been identified in licorice as well, including compounds called flavonoids and various plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). The herb's key therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin (which is 50 times sweeter than sugar) exerts numerous beneficial effects on the body, making licorice a valuable herb for treating a host of ailments. It seems to prevent the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol (the body's primary stress-fighting adrenal hormone), making these hormones more available to the body.

It has a well-documented reputation for healing ulcers. It can lower stomach acid levels, relieve heartburn and indigestion and acts as a mild laxative.

It can also be used for irritation, inflammation and spasm in the digestive tract. Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.

Licorice also appears to enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses. It also contains powerful antioxidants as well as certain phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body's natural estrogens; very helpful during the menopause. Glycyrrhizinic acid also seems to stop the growth of many bacteria and of viruses such as influenza A.

In the respiratory system it has a similarly soothing and healing action, reducing irritation and inflammation and has an expectorant effect, useful in irritating coughs, asthma and chest infections.

It has an aspirin-like action and is helpful in relieving fevers and soothing pain such as headaches. Its anti-allergenic effect is very useful for hay fever, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma. Possibly by its action on the adrenal glands, licorice has the ability to improve resistance to stress. It should be thought of during times of both physical and emotional stress, after surgery or during convalescence, or when feeling tired and run down.

Licorice with glycyrrhizin may help to:

Control respiratory problems and sore throat. Licorice eases congestion and coughing by helping to loosen and thin mucus in airways; this makes a cough more "productive," bringing up phlegm and other mucus bits. Licorice also helps to relax bronchial spasms. The herb also soothes soreness in the throat and fights viruses that cause respiratory illnesses and an overproduction of mucus.

Lessen symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. By enhancing cortisol activity, glycyrrhizin helps to increase energy, ease stress and reduce the symptoms of ailments sensitive to cortisol levels, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromylagia.

Combat hepatitis. Licorice both protects the liver and promotes healing in this vital organ. The herb's anti-inflammatory properties help calm hepatitis-associated liver inflammation. Licorice also fights the virus commonly responsible for hepatitis and supplies valuable antioxidant compounds that help maintain the overall health of the liver.

Treat PMS and menstrual problems. The phytoestrogens in licorice have a mild estrogenic effect, making the herb potentially useful in easing certain symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), such as irritability, bloating and breast tenderness. Although the glycyrrhizin in licorice actually inhibits the effect of the body's own estrogens, the mild estrogenic effect produced by licorice's phytoestrogens manages to override this inhibiting action.

Prevent heart disease. Recent studies have found that by limiting the damage from LDL ("bad") cholesterol, licorice may discourage artery-clogging plaque formation and contribute to the healthy functioning of the heart. Research indicates that modest doses of licorice (100 mg a day) have this effect.




Licorice Root Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names

Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia officinalis

Common Names

Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Kan-ts'ao, Kuo-lao, Licorice, Licorice Root, Ling-t'ung, Liquorice, Mei-ts'ao, Mi-kan, Mi-ts'ao, Sweet Licorice, Sweet Wood, Yasti Madhu

Properties

Anti-allergic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, emollient, estrogenic (mild), expectorant, laxative, pectoral (moderate), soothing

Indicated for

Addison's disease, allergic rhinitis, arthritis, athlete's foot, baldness, bronchitis, bursitis, canker sores, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, chronic fatigue, colds, colitis and intestinal infections, conjunctivitis, constipation, coughs, dandruff, depression, duodenal-ulcers, emphysema, exhaustion, fibromyalgia, flu, fungal infections, gastritis, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, hayfever, heartburn, hepatitis, inflamed gallbladder, liver disease, Lyme disease, menopause, prostate enlargement, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, spleen disorders, tendinitis, throat problems, tuberculosis, ulcers, viral infections, yeast infections. Reducing stomach acid and relieving heartburn and indigestion. Increasing bile flow and lowering cholesterol. Improving resistance to physical and emotional stress.

Do not confuse with licorice confectionery which contains very little, if any, licorice and is in fact flavoured by anise.

Can cause water retention and raised blood pressure. Prolonged use should be avoided if you suffer from high blood pressure.

Can cause mild adrenal stimulation.

Important: Click Here to Read Our Disclaimer

Has Licorice Root Worked For You?

This page is not a wiki so it is not editable like Wikipedia, however we would like to hear your information and comments and sometimes incorporate these into the articles.

Click Here To Post a Comment
Rashmi 's avatar  Rashmi 26/11/2010 13:06

how often or in what quantity one should consume Licorice or Licorice tea?

28 people liked this.
Sonnyie4 's avatar  Sonnyie4 23/09/2010 15:22

I've used licorce for years for many ailment-it's Great!!!!!!!!!!! Anti-inflammatory properties in licorce has healed my ulcers that I am prone to due to stress and inflammation in my body**** Try it and you won't be disappointed or feel like you have wasted your money-it's worth your money then some***

26 people liked this.
Leonor 's avatar  Leonor 15/01/2011 01:05

I bought a tea that says "Breathe Easy" on it and it says that it is made with Organic Licorice Root. Well it smells awful but it tastes pretty good. I don't take it as recommended (the box says 3x daily). I was wondering if taking pill form might be better for me or did I buy the wrong thing. I suffer from the lungs. Right now I don't know if I have a respiratory infection or if it is still allergies. Can anyone enlighten me?

11 people liked this.
Bavaniperi 's avatar  Bavaniperi 25/02/2011 23:49

I am an asthmatic all my life. Two days ago I was told to take licorice tea morning and night (before bed) for persistant cough. Not only cleared the persistant cough, helped with asthma tremendously.When ever I feel tightness in the chest, immediately make a tea with licorice and drink. No inhaler has been taken. Very good remedy.

8 people liked this.
Fenton Kate 's avatar  Fenton Kate 07/11/2010 12:15

I was suffering from weakened strength in muscles and tissues, a slight fever and bouts of cold, and more symptoms of stress post abortion ( 1 and a half weeks after now). I had started to crave liquorice. I at first ate some licorice with wheat by accident - for which i suffered being gluten intolerant; my gut became bloated and inflamed with made everything and their process near more painful. BUT when I later found the gluten free liquorice; with in minutes the feeling of prolapse ( not saying it was), weak and inflamed tissues and muscles in the area, small fever, small depressions or stresses related .. all gone. the next morning I woke feeling balanced and right!

8 people liked this.
Jmtmisc 's avatar  Jmtmisc 24/12/2010 12:26

I don't know about anyone else, but i've experienced hair growth on the top of my head. Not many people noticed, but i did since i used to see straight through to my scalp, where now, its dark enough where the view of my scalp is hazy. I was also putting in the coconut oil, but i suspect it was more the licorice root after what i read above..

7 people liked this.
View All Licorice Root Reviews and Comments