In terms of skin health, licorice root tea 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 tea 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.
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.
Licorice root tea has been traditionally used to treat the symptoms of dysmenorrhea, also known as 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!
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 and when topically applied.
Upper respiratory infections can be persistent and difficult to get over, but licorice root tea can quickly cut through the phlegm and mucus, soothing inflammation in the throat, and giving the immune system a boost to eliminate the underlying bacteria or pathogen. The antioxidants found in this tea are also integral to the body’s defenses against illness.
By stimulating urination, licorice root tea can help detoxify the body. This has impressive effects on the liver. 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.
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 can improve mood and rebalance stress hormone levels in the body.
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, gastrointestional issues, and female reproductive issues.
One interesting note about the 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. In 2013, this use was observed and reviewed by the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 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 supplement, either. Licorice root has documented uses from antiquity, from ancient Greece and Rome to the Middle Ages and beyond. Liquorice 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 travelled 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.
Preparation: 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.
Precaution: Do not use a larger dose than recommended. It is safe for use with children. Liquorice 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 the calcium and potassium absorption. Do not use if you are suffering from osteoporosis, hypertension (increases water around 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.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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