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Licorice, (glycyrrhiza glabra), also spelled liquorice, seasonal herb of the pea household (fabaceae), and the flavouring, confection, and herbal remedies made from its roots. Licorice is similar to anise (pimpinella anisum) in flavour; both plants are rather sweet and somewhat bitter. The greek name glykyrrhiza, of which the word licorice is a corruption, indicates “sweet root.”

Belonging to southern europe, licorice is generally cultivated around the mediterranean and in parts of the united states. An efficient mask for the taste of medications, licorice is an active ingredient in cough lozenges, syrups, and elixirs. It is a flavouring representative in candies and tobacco. The plant is in some cases utilized in folk medicine to deal with peptic ulcers and numerous other conditions. The roots are ground and then boiled to form a juice; the flexible stick kind of licorice candy, also called licorice paste or black sugar, is processed from this thickened juice. [1],

The story of liquorice

For numerous millennia, liquorice has actually been among the most typically used solutions in alternative medicine. It was for instance used as a throat pastille and that was how it took its put on the candy racks.

Liquorice originates from the juice of the roots of the plant glycyrrhiza glabra. Today, it grows in a belt from north africa, throughout the middle east and to china. Some of oldest tape-recorded uses of liquorice are likewise discovered here.

The history of liquorice can be dated to 2300 bc. China’s emperor shennong had the magnificent farmer’s herb-root timeless, pen-ts’ ao, record an entry, where liquorice was a magic plant that rejuvenated aging guys.

The ancient liquorice cure

Liquorice root was also amongst the many treasures discovered in the egyptian pharaoh tutankhamun’s tomb from 1350 bc. Scholars still do not know why.

However, we do understand that liquorice was a typical component in a lot of the remedies from ancient greece. One such is cough medicine. It was this function that liquorice was to play in modern times, where it ended up being a common component in cough syrup because of its alleviating and anti-inflammatory impacts.

From medicine to candy

The history of liquorice continues from cough medicine to candy in italy, france, germany and england. Numerous examples of the advancement of liquorice through the 19th century are plentiful that advises us of its present use.

Ga-jol from 1933 is one of the earliest existing liquorice items. It was released as a throat pastille versus hoarse throat and coughing. In the beginning, difficult liquorice pastilles like ga-jol were planned for sour throats and soft liquorice rods were more popular as children’s candy.

Galle & jessen was founded in 1872 and høgh’s liquorice factory in 1902. Both started producing boiled sugary foods, however altered their production to consist of liquorice and jellies.

The extremely first items were liquorice shapes, salt pastilles, eucalyptus pastilles and coloured shapes with fruit flavour.

In the twenties, soft liquorice emerged. After many efforts, høgh’s liquorice factory produced the first canes and tooth brushes from liquorice.

Høgh’s lakrids was relabelled pingvin lakrids in 1962, when toms purchased the company. [2]

The best licorice advantages

Here are 6 methods licorice can benefit your health.

The skinny on licorice for your dermis

There’s proof that licorice has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory homes. All of this can help you keep a fresh face.

In some studies, topical items including licorice substances improved eczema. And in a 2018 research study of rats, everyday application of licorice helped injuries recover quicker.

( don’t) feel the burn

Heartburn and indigestion can be a total bummer, but licorice might assist tame the fire.

According to a study of 50 individuals, 30 days of treatment with a licorice extract enhanced indigestion signs. In another research study, treatment that consisted of glycyrrhetinic acid (stemmed from licorice root) decreased signs of heartburn, chest discomfort, and stomach swelling.

Soothe stomach ulcers

A 2016 research study showed that the addition of licorice to antibiotic treatment for helicobacter pylori (the germs that causes most stand ulcers) was more effective than prescription antibiotics alone. Another study on mice found licorice extract worked against ulcers.

Tbh, more research on human beings is required to show licorice’s benefits on ulcers 10/10.

An anti-cancer candy too?

Numerous smaller studies show licorice may have favorable results for fighting cancer. According to a test tube research study, licorice can slow the development of melanoma cells.

In a 2020 study, scientists used an antioxidant compound in licorice to prevent the development of breast cancer cells in the lab. And in another research study, the exact same licorice-derived substance inhibited the growth of colon cancer in mice.

Licorice might likewise help relieve the effects of cancer treatments. Folks who get radiation or chemotherapy often develop mouth sores called oral mucositis. Research suggests that a particular kind of oral licorice treatments can help.

Licorice may assist you breathe easier

Organic teas marketed for coughs and colds often have licorice. According to 2019 research study, licorice natural tea hinders the development of the bacteria that triggers strep throat (streptococcus pyogenes). Another study on mice showed licorice might lower throat inflammation due to asthma.

Make your mouth sparkle

There’s evidence that licorice substances might support oral health. Research study on mice shows that some specific kinds of licorice might have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial residential or commercial properties that can help with:.

  • Cavities
  • Gum illness
  • Mouth ulcers

Fyi: it is necessary to keep in mind that more research study on people is required to validate these advantages.

A study of preschool kids revealed that licorice lollipops reduced cavity-causing germs.

Wait, there’s more!

Here are some other health benefits of licorice.

  • Handle hormonal agents. Licorice can decrease testosterone production, making it a potential treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos).
  • Lower menopause symptoms. Licorice root may assist with hot flashes.
  • Lower weight. A 2017 review showed that licorice can reduce body weight, but it also causes high blood pressure.
  • Assistance liver health. Glycyrrhizic acid, a substance discovered in licorice, has prospective to assist individuals with liver illness like hepatitis. [3]

How to take licorice root

Licorice root is most typically recommended to help alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, and to enhance energy in some patients. Tea that contains licorice root can also help soothe your throat and reduce the severity of other cold signs. Licorice root is also typically utilized as a sweetener in food such as candy and should be taken with care, as it may communicate with medications and, in high doses, can trigger major health problems.

Taking licorice root supplements

  • Distinguish between the two kinds of licorice root supplements. Licorice root naturally contains an extremely sweet element called glycyrrhizin. While glycyrrhizin is totally safe in small, infrequent quantities, it can result in health problems if consumed long-lasting. As such, if you are considering taking licorice root supplements habitually, make certain to select a deglycyrrhizinated (dgl) supplement.
    • The bottle should report the amounts of glycyrrhizin the dgl supplements consist of. It should disappear than 2% of the supplement for safe long-term usage.
  • Decrease gastrointestinal pain with dgl supplements. Conditions such as heartburn, ulcers, and gastritis can result in considerable pain associated with digestion. Dgl supplements can decrease this discomfort significantly.
    • Take anywhere from 380– 1200 milligrams of dgl about thirty minutes prior to you eat.
    • Given that tablets are generally 380– 400 mg, start with one tablet and see if your symptoms are reduced.
  • Boost your energy with licorice supplements. Licorice root that still includes glycyrrhizin, sometimes called “entire” licorice, can momentarily assist you combat tiredness. Your adrenal gland can end up being overworked when constantly producing cortisol, which takes place when you experience tension. Entire licorice root supplements, however, can postpone the body’s destruction of cortisol and decrease the adrenal gland’s requirement to produce more.
    • Note that licorice root that has not had the glycyrrhizin removed should not be taken frequently.
    • To help keep cortisol levels normal, take the supplement with breakfast and lunch, but not with dinner.
  • Lower your use of “entire” licorice root supplements as your energy levels return to normal.
    1. Talk to your doctor about taking licorice root for other reasons. There are numerous other health benefits accredited to licorice root that have yet to be completely validated by extensive scientific research study. For instance, licorice root might help in reducing blood sugar and insulin resistance, and can potentially assist those at risk for diabetes.
    2. Moreover, licorice root might help secure you against cavities.
    3. Finally, licorice root has actually been shown to have anti-inflammatory results, and it is utilized in some countries to deal with conditions ranging from allergies to infection
  • Take your blood pressure daily while using licorice supplements. This is specifically essential if you’re utilizing “entire” licorice root supplements. Even with the glycyrrhizin got rid of, a daily dgl supplement may impact your high blood pressure. As such, examine your high blood pressure daily for the few weeks of supplementation. If your blood pressure shifts beyond your normal variety, alert your doctor and do not take any more licorice root supplements.
    • If your high blood pressure stays steady for the very first few weeks of treatment, you can start checking it less frequently, such as one or two times a week.

Battling signs of upper-respiratory infection

  • Consume a tea with licorice root to relieve a sore throat. Store-bought herbal teas, particularly those mixed to help soothe cold symptoms, frequently consist of licorice root. While other components, such as echinacea and goldenseal likewise assist decontaminate and heal a sore or irritated throat, licorice root and slippery elm are a few of the best herbs for this specific purpose.
  • Lower other cold signs with licorice root tea. Aside from soothing your throat, tea with licorice root can assist treat other signs of a cold or upper respiratory infection also. Licorice serves as an expectorant, and can assist your body expel the extra phlegm it produces when you have a cold.
    • Licorice root might likewise help in reducing swelling in your bronchial tubes, assisting you breathe more clearly.
  • Make your own licorice root tea. You can make your own tea utilizing just licorice root for a more potent cold treatment, or to supply impacts similar to that of taking a “whole” licorice root supplement for adrenal assistance. Usage half an ounce of dried licorice root for every cup of water. Bring the mix to a bowl and after that simmer for 10 minutes.
    1. Allow the tea to rest in the pan for five minutes with the heat off.
    2. Slices of dried root and chopped root are offered at herb shops and online. The best way to determine dried or sliced root is by weight.
    3. Include a cinnamon stick and few pieces of ginger if you’re making tea to treat a sore throat or a cough.
    4. Kids under 50 pounds (23 kg) should not be provided licorice root tea.
    5. For children over 50 pounds (23 kg), supply 1/3 cup approximately three times a day.
    6. As an adult, limitation yourself to two cups per day.

Considering potential dangers

  • Do not assume licorice root will cure you. While licorice is typically required to help in reducing specific symptoms, it needs to not be taken in lieu of professional medical treatment. Basically, there is insufficient clinical evidence to support the use of licorice root for any specific health condition.
  • The medical claims of numerous herbalists, though extensively repeated and accepted by other herbalists, are not backed by clinical research studies.
  • Alert your medical professional when taking natural supplements. Whenever you are utilizing or thinking about a complementary, integrative, or alternative health practice, alert your physician. Your medical professional requires a complete picture of your health and what you do to manage it in order to help you. In addition, specific combinations of medications and herbs can be dangerous.
  • To name a few issues, the regular use of herbs may impact the health or effectiveness of some of your organs. Your medical professional might purchase blood work if you take herbs such as licorice root frequently.
  • Do not take licorice root while pregnant. There is some risk of unfavorable effects on your child if you consume licorice root in any kind, even sweet, while pregnant. If you are pregnant, attempting to conceive, or nursing, avoid licorice, licorice supplements, and licorice tea.
  • Do not supply licorice root in any type to kids that weigh under 50 pounds (23 kg). [4]

Grow your own licorice for healthier treats

Growing licorice

When you understand how long it requires to achieve a harvest of licorice, the factor it is not more popular becomes clearer. Commercially, licorice plants are not gathered up until they are four or five years of ages. However, in the home garden it is possible to take a little harvest after three years– about the length of time it takes for your very first harvest of asparagus.

But it you have the perseverance the benefits are worth it. Growing from seed isn’t particularly tough however germination can be unpredictable, so it deserves sowing additional in case of failures. Plant seeds on the surface of potting compost in mid to late spring or early fall. Don’t cover them. Keep them warm– about 20 ° c( 68 ° f)– and with any luck, two or three weeks later your licorice seedlings need to have appeared.

Alternatively, you might have the ability to source one- or two-year-old plants. Licorice will send up brand-new shoots from spreading out underground stems, referred to as rhizomes, from its second year. These can likewise be cut off and used to grow new plants.

Licorice is relatively sturdy once established, so in a lot of areas it can be planted out once the last spring frost has actually securely passed. In really cold regions it might be best to plant in a container and bring it into a greenhouse or other protected location for winter, but make it a deep pot since licorice has very long roots!

Licorice growing conditions

While licorice is sluggish to get going, it has the prospective to become rather big after four or 5 years– as much as 2 meters (6 feet) high, with a spread of about a meter (three feet). If you’re planting in a flowerbed ensure to leave lots of area around the plants for digging up the root. With its violet or pale blue flowers and ferny foliage licorice makes an attractive plant for the back of the border, so this isn’t as crazy as it may sound! You could always plant shallow-rooting summer annuals like marigolds around it.

A riverbank plant by nature, licorice likes lots of water and sunshine. Prevent windy spots and frost pockets. Sandy soil is a must. If your soil is very heavy, prepare it prior to planting. Dig a pit at least two spits broad and deep (a spit is the length of a spade blade). Remove any stones, blend the soil with lots of garden compost and fill it back in.

Licorice is a vegetable, and like other beans it repairs nitrogen at its roots so rarely needs additional fertilizer. It will, nevertheless, value periodic mulching to help keep weeds down and maintain wetness while at the same time supplying additional nutrients. Never ever let the soil dry.

Slugs, caterpillars and spider mites can be an issue, and the plants can experience powdery mildew. Secure them from bunnies too. Otherwise licorice is quite trouble-free.

Harvesting licorice

When it’s lastly time to enjoy your just rewards, dig up your licorice root plant. The roots are brownish-yellow, long and versatile, with a yellow, juicy interior. Gather the thickest horizontal roots but leave the deep tap root and thinner horizontal roots to grow on. Replant or bring it under cover for winter in very cold locations.

Chewed fresh, the root tastes sweet and a little salty. The sweetness magnifies the more you chew and launch the sap. Licorice can be utilized for seasoning a wide variety of meals and drinks. The roots can also be dried for later use in teas and baking. Attempt keeping a root in a container of sugar to flavor cakes with.

Make certain to harvest it each year, since if left unharvested licorice roots can reach stunning lengths. 4 meters (13 feet) prevails, and 8 meters (26 feet) is not unprecedented. Attempt untangling that from your flowerbed! [5]

Dosage and types of licorice root

As a supplement, licorice root extract is available in numerous types, consisting of capsules, powders, casts, topical gels, and teas. The root itself can likewise be purchased either fresh or dried.

There’s presently no standard dose recommendation. However, the world health company (who) and european scientific committee of food (scf) both advise limiting glycyrrhizin consumption to no more than 100 mg per day.

Especially, those who consume large quantities of licorice products may be getting more than this quantity.

Additionally, as products do not always show the amount of glycyrrhizin, it can be difficult to identify a safe amount. As a result, it is very important to talk about a safe and efficient dosage with your doctor.

Another choice is to look for deglycyrrhizinated licorice (dgl) powders or pills.

These supplements are free of glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for most of licorice’s side effects. Still, as this substance also contributes numerous benefits, it’s uncertain whether dgl items have the exact same favorable health results.


You can consume licorice root as a tea, tincture, powder, or supplement. It can also be used topically as a gel. While there’s no standard dosage for licorice root, you need to limit your total glycyrrhizin consumption to no more than 100 mg each day. [6]

Negative effects, toxicity, and interactions

Licorice can cause serious negative effects if you take too much of it or utilize it for too long. It has an impact comparable to aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone that causes your body to maintain salt (sodium) and lose potassium.

Taking too much licorice can trigger high blood pressure. This can be serious. It can cause the following symptoms:.

  • Swelling due to the fact that your body is keeping water (edema)
  • Headache
  • Absence of energy (sleepiness)
  • Heart failure or cardiac arrest

You can even end up being poisoned from consuming too much candy that contains genuine licorice or utilizing licorice-containing tobacco.

You shouldn’t take licorice if you have certain health concerns. These include:.

  • Low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
  • Persistent hepatitis
  • Cholestatic liver disease
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Heart rhythm concerns and other heart problem
  • High blood pressure
  • Severe kidney problems
  • A tumor in your adrenal glands (pheochromocytoma)
  • Aldosteronism
  • Neglected hypothyroidism

You likewise shouldn’t take it if you drink a lot of alcohol. Ladies who are pregnant or breastfeeding likewise shouldn’t use this herb.

Don’t take licorice while fasting. Doing so can cause a serious electrolyte imbalance.

Licorice can also connect with some medicines. Thiazide water tablets (diuretics) might increase the amount of potassium you lose when utilized with licorice. Licorice may likewise increase the results of digitalis. This is due to the fact that digitalis level of sensitivity is increased by low potassium levels.

Licorice may disrupt the results of aldactone. This is a medicine used to treat high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor prior to you take licorice.

You also should not take licorice if you take warfarin. It may increase your metabolic process and decrease the effectiveness of warfarin. [7]

Prospective drug interactions

Medications that connect with licorice consist of:.

  • Drugs that lower potassium
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Diuretics, likewise known as water tablets
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Blood slimmers, such as warfarin (coumadin)
  • Estrogen, hormone treatment, and birth control pills
  • Corticosteroids

Some individuals might have the ability to take dgl supplements to prevent these interactions, but they ought to talk to a physician first. [8]

Unique safety measures and warnings

Pregnancy: it is risky to take licorice when pregnant. It might trigger a miscarriage or early delivery. Eating about 250 grams of licorice weekly seems to increase the danger of early shipment.

Breast-feeding: there isn’t sufficient trustworthy details readily available about the safety of taking licorice when breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and prevent usage.

Heart disease: licorice can cause the body to store water, and this can make cardiac arrest even worse. Licorice can also increase the danger of irregular heartbeat. Do not take in licorice if you have a heart disease.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: licorice may act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by direct exposure to estrogen, don’t use licorice.

High blood pressure: licorice can raise blood pressure. Don’t consume big quantities of licorice if you have high blood pressure.

A muscle condition caused by nerve problems (hypertonia): licorice can decrease potassium levels in the blood. This can make hypertonia even worse. Prevent licorice if you have hypertonia.

Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia): licorice can lower potassium levels in the blood. If your potassium is already low, licorice might make it too low. Don’t utilize licorice if you have this condition.

Kidney disease: taking in big amounts of licorice might make kidney disease worse.

Sexual issues: taking in large quantities of licorice can reduce interest in sex. It can also aggravate erectile dysfunction (ed) by reducing levels of testosterone.

Surgical treatment: licorice may interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgical treatment. Stop taking licorice at least 2 weeks prior to a set up surgery. [9]


Conventional chinese medication has long used licorice root to deal with a variety of health conditions. It’s used in the modern-day era too, with some research study assistance for its advantages. Much remains unknown about its effects, however it is believed to be safe to use in proper amounts.

People utilize licorice root to relieve symptoms of menopause, as well as deal with a variety of digestive disorders. It can be poisonous if you take excessive and there can be negative effects, particularly among those with a history of liver or kidney problems. It also can engage with a few of the medications you may already take. It’s an excellent idea to talk with your doctor about licorice root before taking it.

Licorice root is available in a variety of types. The amount of active ingredient also can differ from one item to the next. Make certain that you have great information about the item before taking it so that you know it is both safe and effective. [10]


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