Licorice - a tasty candy AND a powerful healing herb - it helps digestive and respiratory health, soothes the skin, heart and inflammation, relieves menstrual pains and anxiety, and it's excellent for your hair!
The number one Chinese herb, Licorice is often a part of our lives - we can find it in candies, gum, and drinks, but you can also use it to help you with your health and well-being.It can offer a wide-range of benefits:
Liquorice root is a natural anti-acid plant that helps to relieve heartburn, indigestion, gastric and stomach ulcers, acid reflux and symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). It works by coating the digestive tract with mucous, protecting the stomach lining while speeding up its repair and restoring balance.
One of the major components of Liquorice is “glycyrrhizic acid”, a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been found to suppress the growth of the toxic bacteria “H pylori” – a nasty little bug that can lead to a whole host of stomach problems.
Due to its diuretic and mildly laxative effects, this root can also reduce stomach bloating, water retention and constipation.
Tied to systemic health issues, the leaky gut syndrome can be difficult to tackle. As an anti-inflammatory and soothing herb, licorice root has proved itself in a research as a natural remedy for ulcers and a beneficial leaky gut supplement.
In terms of skin health, licorice can help to keep your skin moisturized when used as a topical application (cold tea), but can also improve the antioxidant levels in your body, helping to minimize signs of aging. Furthermore, licorice can help soothe inflammatory conditions like psoriasis or eczema and even act as a natural sunscreen, helping to block UV rays that damage the skin.
Licorice root benefits a sore throat or cough immensely as an effective expectorant, helping to loosen and expel mucus that the cough is trying to eliminate. Its soothing properties can bring fast relief for sore throat or lung infections.
Licorice needs to make contact with the part of the body that needs to be soothed, so extracts in cough drops and syrups, as well as tea, are most effective.
In spite of living in a relatively simple time in history, our society is plagued by environmental, physical and mental stress disorders. So many of us have sent our adrenal glands in overdrive like we’re running from wooly mammoths when we’re really just dealing with a budget issue or a decision at work.
That's where adaptogens come in - they help our body adapt to stress and deal with it, regulating cortisol - the stress hormone. This gives our adrenals a break and helps us manage our daily lives in a more peaceful, healthy way.
It turns out licorice is one of the main adaptogen herbs - it is very nourishing for burned-out adrenals and is best used during times of chronic fatigue and tiredness that usually results in frequent illness.
Commonly paired with St. John’s Wort, this herbal tea is often recommended for people suffering from anxiety and depression. The soothing flavor and stimulating activity of this tea improves mood and re-balance stress hormone levels in the body.
Liver health is very important for the balanced functioning of our body, as it processes and eliminates all of the toxins that we accumulate in our everyday lives. If it gets clogged, the toxins soon start to build up in all of our organs, making the perfect environment for the development of illnesses.
Licorice both protects the liver and promotes healing in this vital organ. The herb's anti-inflammatory properties help calm hepatitis-associated liver inflammation. Licorice also fights the virus commonly responsible for hepatitis and supplies valuable antioxidant compounds that help maintain the overall health of the liver.
The glycyrrhizin found in this root is a potent free radical scavenger, especially in the liver and it can effectively block liver damage caused by alcohol and over the counter pain killers.
If you suffer from hypotension, also known as low blood pressure, the stimulating nature of licorice root tea can elevate your blood pressure to normal levels, providing a boost to your energy levels and preventing dizziness and fatigue. However, if you suffer from high blood pressure, this tea can be a dangerous choice for your overall health.
By soothing the symptoms of seizure disorders and spasms of smooth muscle tissue in the body, licorice root tea can help to relieve heart palpitations, smooth digestive properties, and ensure proper muscle function throughout the body, as well as being a natural remedy for pain associated with inflammation, cramps or joint pain.
Licorice root tea has been traditionally used to treat the pains of menstrual cramps, and also improve other symptoms of PMS, such as mood swings, and hormonal fluctuations. However, when consumed in excess, this tea can have the opposite effects, so only drink this tea in moderation!
For the treatment of menopause, licorice was shown in a Health Care for Women International study to be better than hormone replacement therapy at reducing the duration of hot flashes.
Known for its moisturizing qualities, this versatile tea can prevent dryness of the scalp and prevent dandruff, while also delivering rich antioxidants and minerals to the hair, strengthening the follicles and improving the appearance of your hair. This tea has also been praised for its ability to stop hair loss, both when consumed as a tea or tincture and when applied topically.
Licorice is emerging as a prominent player in the search for treatment and prevention for diseases like hepatitis C, HIV, and influenza. The triterpenoid content has been confirmed as a virus killer, making licorice a potentially strong partner for the immune system. A study published in Food Chemistry described licorice as having “antioxidant, free-radical scavenging, immuno-stimulating” properties.
By stimulating urination, licorice root tea can help detoxify the body. Urination eliminates excess salts, fats, toxins, and water from the body, relieving strain on the kidneys and bladder. However, since this tea does have diuretic and laxative effects, drinking too much can cause dehydration and other negative side effects.
Dosage and preparation:
Tea - Sprinkle half a teaspoon of chopped sweet root with about 200 ml boiling water, cover the dish and let it sit for about 5 minutes. A cup of tea is served 1-3 times a day after meals, but not longer than 4-6 weeks.
Tincture - 20 to 30 drops, 3 times a day.
The taste: Licorice has a well-known flavor and it's intensely sweet - you can drink it on its own, or add it to other herbal teas to make them sweet and add some benefits!
Precaution: Do not use a larger dose than recommended. It is safe for use with children. Licorice should not be taken by people on digoxin-based drugs. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and in cirrhosis of the liver. It may interfere with calcium and potassium absorption. Do not use if you are suffering from osteoporosis or hypertension (increased water around the heart).
Some evidence suggests taking licorice in supplement form may have estrogen-like effects on female hormone-sensitive conditions (breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids) and should not be taken by people with such diseases. It may also worsen hypertonia (a muscle condition caused by nerve disease), potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) or erectile dysfunction.
Also, stop taking licorice root two weeks before surgery, as it may interfere with blood pressure control during surgical procedures.
Disclaimer: Information on this website is based on research from the internet, books, articles and studies and/or companies selling herbs online. Statements in this website have not necessarily been evaluated and should not be considered as medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. for diagnosis or treatment consult your physician.Use herbs in moderation and watch for allergic reactions.If you are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffering from a medical condition and/or are at all concerned about any of the advice or ingredients consult your doctor before taking the herbs.Remember that diet, exercise and relaxation are equally important to your health..
Licorice has become synonymous with a strong candy flavor, but the herb itself — Glycyrrhiza glabra — has very different strengths. An adaptogen herb, licorice root can be found growing in Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia, and it’s been used for thousands of years and dozens of purposes, including as a leaky gut remedy.
Licorice is a member of the legume family, and while there are species that grow in the U.S., Glycyrrhiza glabra is primarily native to Europe and Asia.
Glycyrrhiza’s name reflects its most popularly known claim to fame: “sweet root.” With an extract that can be 30 to 50 times sweeter than sugar, we can see why our ancestors were inspired to turn it into candy!
In Chinese medicine, anti-inflammatory licorice root has been used for centuries for many of the same uses that science has confirmed now — coughs and colds, gastrointestinal issues, and female reproductive issues.
One interesting way licorice has been used in Chinese medicine is that it was used as a “guide drug.” Licorice root was used in tandem with other herbs and remedies to enhance their effects and essentially guide the other herbs to where they would be most beneficial. This ancient purpose, along with other licorice root benefits, no doubt contributed to licorice root being the most used herb in Chinese medicine!
Europeans didn’t ignore the benefits of licorice as a supplement, either. Licorice root has documented uses from antiquity, from ancient Greece and Rome to the Middle Ages and beyond. Licorice Root boasts a medicinal history going back thousands of years, with reports of it being consumed for its health benefits by the likes of Caesar, Alexander the Great and the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.
During the Middle Ages, Liquorice was often taken to alleviate the bad effects of highly spiced and overcooked food, fat and often-contaminated meats. As refrigeration was impossible, most meats were preserved by salting and by packing with aromatic herbs and spices.
To the Egyptians, Liquorice was a “cure-all”, although it was used throughout the ancient world for a variety of maladies. The herbal physician Dioscorides who traveled with the army of Alexander the Great gave it to the troops to give them stamina and endurance.
By the 20th century, manufacturing allowed the root to be stripped for pharmaceutical uses and then extracted for candy sweetener.
Now, that familiarly strong licorice flavor is usually replicated by the similarly flavored anise seed (a common biblical herb), but you can still get genuine licorice candy — usually “black licorice” to distinguish it from the red imitation candy.
The medicinal strength and benefits of licorice root are prominent enough that the FDA issued a notice for consumers to be aware that black licorice is more than just a sweet treat.
Common Names: Spanish licorice , Russian licorice , gan Cao (Chinese), shao-yao-gan-cao-tang , bois doux (French), kanzo (Japanese), lakrids (Danish), lakritzenwurzel (German), licochalcone-A , Glycyrrhizae radix , Glycyrrhizae extractum crudum , Liquiriti radix , Succens liquiritiae.