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Licorice Root

Licorice Root

Licorice Originated as an Herb

Did you know that this popular candy was originally made from an herb? The roots of this plant are widely used, not only in European herbal medicine but also in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia.

Most licorice is grown in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid).

The root of this treat has many benefits! Licorice has been popular for flavoring foods and other medicinal herbs for many centuries. Hippocrates described its medicinal use, as did Pliny the Elder.

Licorice Root As A Remedy...

  • Licorice Root is one of the most widely used remedies in all herbal systems.
  • Licorice root has been used as a dietary supplement for stomach ulcers, bronchitis, and sore throat, as well as infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis.
  • Licorice has been used to ease symptoms of menopause. It is not frequently used for this purpose in the United States.
  • Topically, glycyrrhizin has been used in shampoo to treat excess oil secretion of the scalp. It has also been included in ointments used to treat skin inflammations.
  • Licorice has been used to treat coughs and colds, and also as a digestive aid.
  • Pouring a teaspoon of licorice powder into a pint of boiling water can make a homemade douche.

Chinese researchers are among those that feel licorice is effective against coughs, soothing the inflamed tissues of a sore throat. Ancient Chinese texts summarize the uses of licorice rather well: "improve the tone of the 'middle Jiao' [digestive system] and replenish qi, to remove 'heat' and toxic substance, to moisturize the lungs and arrest coughing, and to relieve spasms and pain."

Dose: For coughs and colds - approximately 5g per day (about 1 teaspoons licorice root made into tea). For ulcers and stomach problems: up to 15 g per day.

Improves Libido

Licorice Root

  • Licorice Root is used to improve eyesight, physical strength, sexual potency and libido.

Calms...

  • Licorice calms down sensitive tissues and helps to reduce seasonal sneezing and congestion.

Preserves...

  • Licorice Root preserves the effect of the body's hormone, cortisol, allowing it to maintain longer anti-inflammatory action.

Promotes skin health...

  • Licorice Root is a major for skin health, and it protects the liver.

Balances blood sugar...

  • A blood sugar balancer, Licorice Root soothes indigestion and heartburn, or a sore throat.

Find Licorice Root

  • Peeled licorice root is available in dried and powdered forms.
  • Licorice root is available as capsules, tablets, and extract.
  • Licorice can be found with glycyrrhizin removed; the product is called DGL (for "deglycyrrhizinated licorice").
  • Licorce Root has also been recommended for auto-immune conditions such as lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis External Link and animal dander allergies.

Noteable Notes

Although licorice is best known in the United States as a flavor for candy, by far the majority (up to 90 percent) of the licorice imported into the country is actually used to flavor tobacco products.

A piece of licorice from the eighth century was recently discovered to still contain active principles.

A case of licorice overdose demonstrated that the popular candy Twizzlers (the black, not the red) contains some licorice.

Natural candies imported from Europe often contain licorice rather than anise or other flavoring agents.

Side Effects and Cautions of Licorice Root

  • In large amounts, licorice containing glycyrrhizin can cause high blood pressure, salt and water retention, and low potassium levels, which could lead to heart problems. DGL products (above) are thought to cause fewer side effects.
  • The safety of using licorice as a supplement for more than 4 to 6 weeks has not been thoroughly studied.
  • As little as one ounce (approximately 30 g) of natural licorice candy daily may be enough to trigger side effects over a period of weeks or months.
  • Taking licorice together with diuretics (water pills) or other medicines that reduce the body's potassium levels could cause dangerously low potassium levels.
  • People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about using licorice.
  • When taken in large amounts, licorice can affect the body's levels of a hormone called cortisol and related steroid drugs, such as prednisone.

See also: Licorice as an Herb

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