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

Native to southern europe, licorice is generally cultivated around the mediterranean and in parts of the united states. An effective mask for the taste of medicines, licorice is an active ingredient in cough lozenges, syrups, and elixirs. It is a flavouring representative in candies and tobacco. The plant is often utilized in herbal remedies to deal with peptic ulcers and different other disorders. The roots are ground and then boiled to form a juice; the pliable stick type of licorice sweet, likewise called licorice paste or black sugar, is processed from this thickened juice. [1],

The story of liquorice

For a number of millennia, liquorice has actually been one of the most commonly utilized treatments in natural medicine. It was for instance used as a throat pastille which was how it took its place on the candy racks.

Liquorice comes from the juice of the roots of the plant glycyrrhiza glabra. Today, it grows in a belt from north africa, across the middle east and to china. A few of oldest taped uses of liquorice are also discovered here.

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

The ancient liquorice remedy

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

However, we do understand that liquorice was a typical ingredient in a lot of the solutions 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 easing and anti-inflammatory effects.

From medication to sweet

The history of liquorice continues from cough medicine to sweet in italy, france, germany and england. Lots of examples of the development of liquorice through the 19th century abound that advises us of its existing usage.

Ga-jol from 1933 is among the earliest existing liquorice items. It was introduced as a throat pastille against hoarse throat and coughing. In the beginning, difficult liquorice pastilles like ga-jol were meant for sour throats and soft liquorice rods were more popular as kids’s sweet.

Galle & jessen was founded in 1872 and høgh’s liquorice factory in 1902. Both started out producing boiled sweets, however altered their production to include liquorice and jellies.

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

In the twenties, soft liquorice emerged. After numerous efforts, høgh’s liquorice factory produced the very first walking sticks and tooth brushes from liquorice.

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

The very best licorice advantages

Here are six ways licorice can benefit your health.

The skinny on licorice for your dermis

There’s proof that licorice has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory residential or commercial properties. All of this can assist you keep a fresh face.

In some studies, topical items containing licorice substances enhanced eczema. And in a 2018 research study of rats, everyday application of licorice assisted injuries heal much faster.

( don’t) feel the burn

Heartburn and indigestion can be an overall downer, however licorice might assist tame the fire.

According to a research study of 50 individuals, thirty days of treatment with a licorice extract improved indigestion signs. In another study, treatment that consisted of glycyrrhetinic acid (derived from licorice root) minimized symptoms of heartburn, chest discomfort, and stomach swelling.

Soothe stomach ulcers

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

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

An anti-cancer sweet too?

Numerous smaller sized research studies indicate licorice might have positive results for fighting cancer. According to a test tube study, licorice can slow the growth of cancer malignancy cells.

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

Licorice might also help alleviate the impacts of cancer treatments. Folks who get radiation or chemotherapy often establish mouth sores called oral mucositis. Research suggests that a particular kind of oral licorice treatments can assist.

Licorice might help you breathe easier

Organic teas marketed for coughs and colds typically have licorice. According to 2019 research, licorice organic tea inhibits the development of the germs that triggers strep throat (streptococcus pyogenes). Another study on mice revealed licorice might lower throat inflammation due to asthma.

Make your mouth shimmer

There’s proof that licorice compounds might support oral health. Research study on mice reveals that some customized types of licorice may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial homes that can help with:.

  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Mouth ulcers

Fyi: it is essential to keep in mind that more research study on human beings is needed to validate these advantages.

A research study of preschool kids showed that licorice lollipops decreased cavity-causing bacteria.

Wait, there’s more!

Here are some other health advantages of licorice.

  • Manage hormonal agents. Licorice can decrease testosterone production, making it a prospective treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos).
  • Decrease menopause symptoms. Licorice root might help with hot flashes.
  • Lower weight. A 2017 review revealed that licorice can decrease body weight, but it also triggers hypertension.
  • Support liver health. Glycyrrhizic acid, a compound discovered in licorice, has possible to assist people with liver illness like hepatitis. [3]

How to take licorice root

Licorice root is most frequently recommended to help reduce digestion pain, and to boost energy in some patients. Tea that contains licorice root can also help soothe your throat and reduce the intensity of other cold symptoms. Licorice root is likewise frequently utilized as a sweetener in food such as sweet and should be taken with care, as it may engage with medications and, in high doses, can trigger major health problems.

Taking licorice root supplements

  • Compare the two kinds of licorice root supplements. Licorice root naturally contains an extremely sweet part called glycyrrhizin. While glycyrrhizin is totally safe in little, irregular quantities, it can cause health problems if consumed long-term. As such, if you are considering taking licorice root supplements habitually, make sure to pick a deglycyrrhizinated (dgl) supplement.
    • The bottle ought to report the quantities of glycyrrhizin the dgl supplements include. It must be no more than 2% of the supplement for safe long-lasting usage.
  • Reduce intestinal discomfort with dgl supplements. Conditions such as heartburn, ulcers, and gastritis can lead to significant pain connected with food digestion. Dgl supplements can diminish this pain substantially.
    • Take anywhere from 380– 1200 milligrams of dgl about half an hour prior to you consume.
    • Considering 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 consists of glycyrrhizin, often called “entire” licorice, can temporarily help you battle fatigue. Your adrenal gland can become overworked when continuously producing cortisol, which takes place when you experience stress. Entire licorice root supplements, nevertheless, can delay 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 eliminated should not be taken regularly.
    • To help keep cortisol levels normal, take the supplement with breakfast and lunch, but not with supper.
  • Minimize your use of “whole” licorice root supplements as your energy levels go back to regular.
    1. Speak to your physician about taking licorice root for other factors. There are a number of other health benefits certified to licorice root that have yet to be totally validated by strenuous clinical research study. For example, licorice root may help reduce blood sugar level and insulin resistance, and can potentially help those at risk for diabetes.
    2. Moreover, licorice root might help secure you against cavities.
    3. Lastly, licorice root has been shown to have anti-inflammatory results, and it is utilized in some countries to treat conditions ranging from allergies to infection
  • Take your blood pressure daily while using licorice supplements. This is particularly important if you’re using “whole” licorice root supplements. Even with the glycyrrhizin got rid of, a daily dgl supplement might affect your blood pressure. As such, check your high blood pressure daily for the few weeks of supplements. If your blood pressure shifts outside of your typical range, notify your physician and do not take any more licorice root supplements.
    • If your blood pressure remains steady for the first couple of weeks of treatment, you can begin inspecting it less frequently, such as once or twice a week.

Combating signs of upper-respiratory infection

  • Consume a tea with licorice root to relieve a sore throat. Store-bought natural teas, especially those combined to help soothe cold signs, frequently consist of licorice root. While other active ingredients, such as echinacea and goldenseal likewise assist decontaminate and recover a sore or irritated throat, licorice root and slippery elm are a few of the best herbs for this specific purpose.
  • Reduce other cold signs with licorice root tea. Aside from calming your throat, tea with licorice root can help treat other symptoms of a cold or upper breathing infection also. Licorice functions as an expectorant, and can help your body expel the extra phlegm it produces when you have a cold.
    • Licorice root may also help in reducing swelling in your bronchial tubes, helping you breathe more plainly.
  • Make your own licorice root tea. You can make your own tea using only licorice root for a more potent cold treatment, or to supply results comparable to that of taking a “whole” licorice root supplement for adrenal assistance. Use half an ounce of dried licorice root for every cup of water. Bring the mixture to a bowl and then simmer for 10 minutes.
    1. Allow the tea to rest in the pan for five minutes with the heat off.
    2. Pieces of dried root and sliced root are offered at herb stores and online. The best way to measure dried or chopped root is by weight.
    3. Include a cinnamon stick and couple of pieces of ginger if you’re making tea to deal with a sore throat or a cough.
    4. Kids under 50 pounds (23 kg) ought to not be given licorice root tea.
    5. For kids over 50 pounds (23 kg), supply 1/3 cup up to 3 times a day.
    6. As an adult, limit yourself to 2 cups each day.

Thinking about possible risks

  • Do not presume licorice root will treat you. While licorice is commonly required to help reduce certain symptoms, it ought to not be taken in lieu of professional medical treatment. Simply put, there is not enough clinical evidence to support the use of licorice root for any particular health malady.
  • The medical claims of lots of herbalists, though widely repeated and accepted by other herbalists, are not backed by medical studies.
  • Inform your doctor when taking herbal supplements. Whenever you are using or thinking about a complementary, integrative, or alternative health practice, alert your doctor. Your medical professional needs a full image of your health and what you do to manage it in order to assist you. In addition, specific combinations of medications and herbs can be harmful.
  • To name a few issues, the habitual use of herbs might affect the health or performance of a few of your organs. Your physician may order blood work if you take herbs such as licorice root frequently.
  • Don’t take licorice root while pregnant. There is some threat of adverse effects on your child if you consume licorice root in any type, even candy, while pregnant. If you are pregnant, attempting to conceive, or nursing, avoid licorice, licorice supplements, and licorice tea.
  • Do not provide licorice root in any form to children that weigh under 50 pounds (23 kg). [4]

Grow your own licorice for healthier deals with

Growing licorice

When you realize the length of time it takes to accomplish a harvest of licorice, the reason it is not more popular ends up being clearer. Commercially, licorice plants are not harvested up until they are four or five years old. Nevertheless, in the home garden it is possible to take a small 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 deserve it. Growing from seed isn’t specifically hard however germination can be unpredictable, so it’s worth sowing extra in case of failures. Sow seeds on the surface of potting garden 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, 2 or three weeks later your licorice seedlings need to have appeared.

Alternatively, you may be able to source one- or two-year-old plants. Licorice will send up new shoots from spreading out underground stems, referred to as rhizomes, from its 2nd year. These can likewise be cut off and used to grow new plants.

Licorice is relatively durable as soon as established, so in many areas it can be planted out when the last spring frost has actually safely passed. In truly cold areas it may be best to plant in a container and bring it into a greenhouse or other protected place for winter season, however make it a deep pot because licorice has very long roots!

Licorice growing conditions

While licorice is slow to start, it has the prospective to become quite large after 4 or 5 years– up to two meters (six feet) tall, with a spread of about a meter (3 feet). If you’re planting in a flowerbed make sure to leave lots of space 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 might sound! You could constantly plant shallow-rooting summertime annuals like marigolds around it.

A riverbank plant by nature, licorice likes plenty of water and sunshine. Prevent windy areas and frost pockets. Sandy soil is a must. If your soil is extremely heavy, prepare it before planting. Dig a pit a minimum of two spits large and deep (a spit is the length of a spade blade). Get rid of any stones, mix the soil with lots of compost and fill it back in.

Licorice is a vegetable, and like other vegetables it repairs nitrogen at its roots so seldom needs additional fertilizer. It will, nevertheless, appreciate occasional mulching to help keep weeds down and maintain wetness while at the same time offering additional nutrients. Never let the soil dry out.

Slugs, caterpillars and spider termites can be a problem, and the plants can experience powdery mildew. Secure them from rabbits too. Otherwise licorice is quite hassle-free.

Collecting licorice

When it’s finally time to reap your simply rewards, collect your licorice root plant. The roots are brownish-yellow, long and versatile, with a yellow, juicy interior. Harvest the thickest horizontal roots however leave the deep tap root and thinner horizontal roots to grow on. Replant or bring it under cover for winter season in really cold areas.

Chewed fresh, the root tastes sweet and a little salty. The sweetness magnifies the more you chew and release the sap. Licorice can be utilized for seasoning a wide array of dishes 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 gather it each year, since if left unharvested licorice roots can reach shocking lengths. Four meters (13 feet) prevails, and eight meters (26 feet) is not unusual. Attempt untangling that from your flowerbed! [5]

Dosage and forms of licorice root

As a supplement, licorice root extract is available in numerous forms, including capsules, powders, tinctures, topical gels, and teas. The root itself can also be acquired either fresh or dried.

There’s presently no basic dosage recommendation. However, the world health organization (who) and european clinical committee of food (scf) both recommend restricting glycyrrhizin consumption to no greater than 100 mg per day.

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

Moreover, as items don’t constantly indicate the quantity of glycyrrhizin, it can be challenging to recognize a safe amount. As a result, it is essential to talk about a safe and efficient dose with your healthcare provider.

Another option is to search for deglycyrrhizinated licorice (dgl) powders or pills.

These supplements are devoid of glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for the majority of licorice’s adverse effects. Still, as this substance likewise contributes various benefits, it’s unclear whether dgl products have the same favorable health effects.


You can consume licorice root as a tea, cast, powder, or supplement. It can likewise be used topically as a gel. While there’s no standard dosage for licorice root, you ought to restrict your total glycyrrhizin intake to no greater than 100 mg per day. [6]

Negative effects, toxicity, and interactions

Licorice can trigger major negative effects if you take excessive of it or utilize it for too long. It has a result similar to aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone that causes your body to keep salt (sodium) and lose potassium.

Taking excessive licorice can trigger hypertension. This can be severe. It can trigger the following symptoms:.

  • Swelling because your body is maintaining water (edema)
  • Headache
  • Absence of energy (lethargy)
  • Heart failure or cardiac arrest

You can even become poisoned from eating too much sweet which contains genuine licorice or utilizing licorice-containing tobacco.

You should not take licorice if you have specific health concerns. These consist of:.

  • Low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Cholestatic liver disease
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Heart rhythm concerns and other heart problem
  • High blood pressure
  • Serious kidney problems
  • A tumor in your adrenal glands (pheochromocytoma)
  • Aldosteronism
  • Without treatment hypothyroidism

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

Do not take licorice while fasting. Doing so can cause a severe electrolyte imbalance.

Licorice can also engage 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 sensitivity is increased by low potassium levels.

Licorice might disrupt the effects of aldactone. This is a medication utilized to deal with hypertension. 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 reduce the effectiveness of warfarin. [7]

Possible drug interactions

Medications that communicate with licorice include:.

  • Drugs that lower potassium
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Diuretics, likewise known as water tablets
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Blood slimmers, such as warfarin (coumadin)
  • Estrogen, hormonal agent therapy, and contraceptive pill
  • Corticosteroids

Some individuals may be able to take dgl supplements to prevent these interactions, however they should talk with a medical professional initially. [8]

Unique preventative measures and warnings

Pregnancy: it is unsafe to take licorice when pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage or early delivery. Consuming about 250 grams of licorice each week seems to increase the risk of early shipment.

Breast-feeding: there isn’t sufficient dependable info available about the safety of taking licorice when breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and avoid usage.

Heart disease: licorice can cause the body to store water, and this can make heart failure worse. Licorice can likewise increase the threat of irregular heart beat. Don’t 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 imitate estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be intensified by direct exposure to estrogen, do not utilize licorice.

Hypertension: licorice can raise blood pressure. Do not consume large amounts of licorice if you have high blood pressure.

A muscle condition brought on by nerve problems (hypertonia): licorice can lower potassium levels in the blood. This can make hypertonia worse. Avoid licorice if you have hypertonia.

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

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

Sexual problems: consuming big amounts of licorice can lower interest in sex. It can likewise worsen erectile dysfunction (ed) by decreasing levels of testosterone.

Surgical treatment: licorice might disrupt blood pressure control throughout and after surgery. Stop taking licorice a minimum of 2 weeks before a set up surgical treatment. [9]


Standard chinese medicine has actually long utilized licorice root to deal with a variety of health conditions. It’s used in the modern period too, with some research support for its benefits. Much remains unknown about its effects, but it is believed to be safe to utilize in appropriate quantities.

People utilize licorice root to relieve signs of menopause, as well as treat a variety of digestion disorders. It can be hazardous if you take excessive and there can be adverse effects, particularly among those with a history of liver or kidney problems. It also can engage with a few of the medications you might already take. It’s an excellent concept to talk with your doctor about licorice root prior to taking it.

Licorice root comes in a variety of forms. The amount of active component also can differ from one product to the next. Make sure that you have good information about the product before taking it so that you understand it is both safe and efficient. [10]


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