Botanical Name: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Other Name: Sweet root and Gan Zao

Hippocrates called licorice as “sweet root;” because its root contains a substance that is 50 to 100 times sweeter than table sugar.  The Shennong Herbal, a list of more than 365 plant drugs compiled in China, listed licorice as a “superior” drug, meaning that it can be used over a long period of time with no toxic effects.

Part of the Plant Used for Medicine: Dried roots and rhizomes, either peeled or unpeeled.

Active Ingredients: About 6 to 14 percent of licorice root is the glycoside Glycyrrhizin, this active ingredient is responsible for its medicinal benefits and side effects.

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice: A new form of licorice minus glycyrrhizin, called DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), has been used effectively to treat ulcers without producing the unwanted side effect of high blood pressure.

Since DGL does not contain glycyrrhizin acid, it is unlikely that it offers the full benefits of preparations containing the whole licorice root.

Available forms of Licorice: capsule, powder, tablet, tea, and tincture form.

Recommended Use: Consumption of Licorice is not recommended for longer periods. Even though the study suggests the regular use of the herb for two months, it is advised to stop the use of Licorice root for one week after every two weeks during the two months period.

Health Benefits of Licorice:

  • Ulcers. Licorice acts as a lining in the stomach, to help protect it. It should be taken 20 to 30 minutes before meals in order for it to be more effective in the treatment of ulcer.
  • Hormone balancing herb. Licorice appears to have balancing effect between estrogen and progesterone.  It is often included in formulas for PMS and menopause. Drinking Licorice Root tea starting 3 days before expected period time may help with menstrual cramps, and help ease the PMS symptoms.
  • Helps detoxify the liver, making it one of the top herbal remedy for combating viral hepatitis. It also helps protect the liver from damage due to chemotherapy.
  • Help regulate the cholesterol levels by improving the bile flow. Studies suggest that bile acids account for cholesterol metabolism and elimination of excess cholesterol in the body.
  • Good remedy for arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It stimulates the production of two steroids, cortisone and aldosterone, which help reduce inflammation.
  • Powerful antitoxin and is used as an aid in the treatment of pesticide poisoning.
  • Help suppress coughs and moisten lungs; this makes it especially good for respiratory tract infections.
  • 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.

Side Effects of Licorice:

  • When taken in excess, licorice can cause high blood pressure, low levels of potassium, fluid retention and swelling of the face and limbs, hormonal imbalance, and muscle destruction leading to pain and weakness. These adverse effects can be lessened by taking large dosage of potassium and lower the intake of sodium (table salt).
  • Licorice can also reduce thyroid gland activity and lower the basal metabolic rate.

“This post was originally in January 2, 2012 @19:32”

Health Benefits of Licorice

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