Licorice Root

Glycyrrhiza glabra - licorice root

Botanical: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Family: Fabaceae

parts used: root

common names licorice root, licorice, liquorice, sweet root, gan cao, gan-zao, Chinese licorice

energetics: moistening, sweet

actions: adrenal tonic, alterative, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-mutagen, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, expectorant with secretolytic and secretomotor activity, hepatoprotective, nutritive, spasmolytic, estrogenic, immunomodulator, mild laxative

used for: acid indigestion, Addison’s disease, adrenal weakness, allergies, arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, bronchitis, bursitis, cancer, candida, carbuncles, catarrh, chronic fatigue, cirrhosis, colds, constipation, cough (dry), debility, depression, diarrhea, dropsy, dyspnea, dysuria, eczema, Epstein-Barr virus, emotional instability, emphysema, fatigue, fever, gallbladder inflammation, gastritis, gout, Grave’s disease, hair loss, hay fever, heartburn, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, herpes, HIV, hives, hoarseness, hypoglycemia, hysteria, immune system weakness, infertility (male and female), irregular ovulation, irritability, irritable bowel, laryngitis, Lyme disease, menstrual cramps, Parkinsons disease, pharyngitis, poisoning (from food or chemicals), prostatitis, psoriasis, shortness of breath, sore throat, stomach ache, stress, tendonitis, thirst, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, underweight conditions, and wheezing

Most licorice root grows in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. Anise oil is often used instead of licorice root to flavor licorice candy.

Centuries ago, licorice root was used in Greece, China, and Egypt for stomach inflammation and upper respiratory problems. Licorice root also has been used as a sweetener.

Today, people use this herb as a dietary supplement for digestive problems, menopausal symptoms, cough, and bacterial and viral infections. People also use it as a shampoo.

Licorice is harvested from the plants’ roots and underground stems.

Licorice root is most well known for its soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes of the throat, lungs, stomach and intestines. The root is used for coughs, all throat and bronchial irritations, urinary tract irritation, adrenal fatigue, immune deficient states, allergies, gastric and duodenal ulcers, liver disorders, exhaustion due to adrenal stress, and dermatological detoxification. It is effective for chronic hepatitis, useful in HIV and is specific for conditions like mononucleosis, where the patient has abnormally high liver enzymes, a sore throat and needs immune system support.

It is also a wonderful herb for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Due to its sweet taste, licorice makes a nice addition to formulas that are unpalatable.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 teaspoon per cup of water; or 1:3 dry strength liquid extract: 20-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Safety:

  • Licorice is contraindicated in high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney disease, liver cirrhosis and cholestatic liver disorders. Chronic licorice use mimics aldosteronism by increasing sodium resorption and potassium excretion by the kidneys. This action is due to glycyrrhizin content. De-glycyrrhinized licorice has been investigated for its clinical use and safety.
  • Pregnant women should avoid using licorice root as a supplement or consuming large amounts of it as food.
  • The deglycyrrhized extract (which has had the glycyrrhizin removed) is safe to use, and has no side effects; however, if using licorice as an antiviral, the deglycyrrhized extract will be ineffective

health benefits of licorice root

References

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson