Get to know the Licorice Root Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

Nov 20, 2023 By Madison Evans

Licorice root is commonly grown in different parts of Asia and Europe, and the herb is rich in glycyrrhizin, which has anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Therefore, Licorice has been used in Western and Eastern medicines to treat various diseases, from colds to cancer.

Though not all of its uses are proven by scientific evidence, the herb is still used to treat various conditions. If you want to know more about the Licorice root, continue to read as in this article, you will find the health benefits, side effects, and recommended dosage of Licorice root.

What Are The Benefits and Uses Of Licorice Root?

Licorice root, derived from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, has been used for so long in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits. It contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is believed to be responsible for its remarkable medicinal properties.

Here are some potential benefits and uses of licorice root:

Aids In Skin Conditions

Licorice root has more than 300 components, some of which can fight inflammation, bacteria, and viruses. One of these components, glycyrrhizin, helps with inflammation and infections. People use licorice root extract to treat skin problems like acne and eczema. In a 2-week study with 60 adults, using a gel with licorice root extract helped to improve eczema.

Treats Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are sores in the stomach or intestines, often caused by H. pylori bacteria. Licorice root extract, with its glycyrrhizin, might help treat these ulcers. In a mouse study, licorice extract was better than omeprazole, a common ulcer medication. A 2-week study in 120 adults found that licorice extract and standard treatment reduced H. pylori presence significantly.

Reduce Acid Reflux And Indigestion

Licorice root extract is often used to help with indigestion problems like acid reflux and upset stomach. In a 30-day study, 50 adults took a 75-mg licorice capsule twice daily. The results showed an improvement in symptoms.

Licorice may also help with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In an 8-week study with 58 adults, a small amount of glycyrrhetinic acid was used, and regular treatment showed improved symptoms. Another study found daily licorice root use was better than common antacids in reducing symptoms over two years.

Protects From Cavities

Licorice root might help stop cavities by fighting bacteria. In a 3-week test with 66 young kids, sugar-free lollipops with 15 mg of licorice root twice daily reduced cavity-causing bacteria. Lab studies also suggest licorice root extract fights bacteria-causing cavities.

Hepatitis C

Glycyrrhizin, a substance, might treat hepatitis C, a liver infection. If not treated, hepatitis C can harm the liver. Studies show glycyrrhizin fights hepatitis C in cells, suggesting it could be a potential treatment.

Sore Throat

Different types of Licorice may help with sore throats and breathing problems. Some people say licorice root tea can calm a scratchy throat. But most of these claims are from personal experiences rather than scientific proof. Research has found Licorice can be helpful in various medical situations. One study found that applying Licorice before surgery can lower the chances of a sore throat afterward. Licorice in herbal remedies might also ease asthma symptoms.

Use to Treat Cancer

Lab studies suggest Licorice may have potential against various cancers:

  • Cervical Cancer: A compound in Licorice called ISL reduces cell growth and promotes cell death.
  • Breast Cancer: ISL suppresses the growth of cancer cells and causes cancerous cells' death.
  • Liver And Colon Cancers: Isoliquiritigenin (ISL) reduces the oxidative stress caused by the cancer cells and reduces the risk of liver cancer.

While promising, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness in treating human cancer. Despite these findings, following your doctor's advice and treatment recommendations is important.

Boosts Immunity

Licorice is becoming important in fighting diseases like hepatitis C, HIV, and flu. It has antiviral properties because of its triterpenoid. Also, a study has confirmed this herb's free-radical scavenging, antioxidant, and immunostimulating" properties, making it an excellent immunity booster.

Adrenal Fatigue

Stress has become common in our society. Many of us feel stressed about simple things, causing adrenal fatigue. According to a medical journal, Licorice helps the body manage stress better by regulating the stress hormone (cortisol), giving our adrenal glands rest.

What Are The Side Effects Of Licorice Root?

It is usually safe and well-tolerated in adults. Side effects may occur if you take too much licorice root. Long-term usage increases the risk of side effects, ranging from mild to severe.

Licorice root supplements are meant for short-term use. Excessive intake of licorice root may lead to side effects. Licorice root side effects are linked to excess glycyrrhizin in the body, which can cause an abnormal increase in cortisol.

  • Headache
  • Swelling
  • High blood pressure
  • Low potassium levels
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Heart disease
  • Imbalance in fluids and electrolytes
  • Hypertension
  • Aldosteronism
  • Tumor in the adrenal gland
  • Kidney disease

In rare cases, licorice root use has been associated with severe side effects, including neurological deficits, ischemic stroke, and preterm labor. If experiencing severe side effects, discontinue licorice root use and ask the doctor for help.

How To Use Licorice?

Licorice roots and rhizomes can be used differently as powder, tea, tonic, or extract. Your doctor will tell you in what form to use it based on your needs. Also, consult a qualified doctor before stopping or changing your regular medicine, even if you are considering an Ayurvedic or herbal remedy.

Dosage

How much Licorice you should take depends on what health problem you have. But it is really important not to eat too much Licorice in your food or as a supplement. Avoid licorice candy and glycyrrhizin supplements if you have high blood pressure or insufficient potassium.

Conclusion:

Licorice was used first in Egypt to make a sweet drink for the pharaohs. It has also remained an important part of traditional Greek, Chinese, and Middle Eastern medicines. The root offers various health benefits and is effective in soothing your upset stomach, treating respiratory problems, reducing inflammation, and fighting cancer cells. Don't take more than the recommended amount of Licorice, as higher levels of glycyrrhizin in your blood will increase the stress hormone (cortisol) in the blood.

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