ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Licorice Root-Sweet Healing

Updated on October 30, 2007
The Licorice Plant
The Licorice Plant

If someone says "licorice", most people think "red or black"? Well, licorice is actually a very strong medicinal herb, which has been the subject of both study and controversy for years.

Ironically, at least in America, you would have difficulty finding any real licorice in your licorice candy. The vast majority of black licorice is artificially flavored or flavored with anise--not licorice, and red licorice is not really licorice at all--to a traditionalist.

Licorice was used by ancient herbalists in both Western and Chinese civilizations to treat many problems including respiratory ailments and ulcers. It is still found in certain cough preparations today. It has cough suppressive effects and is moisturizing and soothing to coughs and for sore throats.

One of the compounds contained in licorice is glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin is the component the gives licorice it's sweetness, and it is in fact 50 times sweeter than sugar. The other important component of licorice is glycyrrhetinic acid. In animal studies, the combination of these two compounds has been shown to increase the body's supply of interferon. Interferon is a powerful antiviral agent that works by suppressing a virus's ability to replicate. It also has a side benefit of stimulating certain other beneficial immune cells in the body.

About half of all Chinese herbal formulas incorporate licorice in their blends. The Chinese feel it is a "harmonizing herb". This is to say that it works to reduce the toxicity potential of the other herbs in the formula and to increase their effectiveness.

Licorice is also useful externally in cream form. Isolating the glycyrrhetinic acid and using it in a cream, topically for eczema and psoriasis has been quite useful. In fact the results have been similar to those of topical corticosteroids. Some studies have even pointed to it being slightly superior.

It can also have a balancing effect on hormones (estrogen and progesterone in particular) which can be especially effective in formulas for PMS or menopause.

One of licorice's classic uses is in the treatment of ulcers. It has been proven in several studies, that licorice is as effective as the ulcer medication Tagamet (generic: cimetidine). What is most important to glean from these studies however, is that licorices action is slightly different than the drug action. Generally, the drugs work by suppressing stomach acid. Licorice on the other hand, works to heal the ulcers themselves. Stomach acid does serve a purpose in the human body, and too much suppression of it can lead to other problems. The form used for this ( and strongly encouraged ) is the deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL form. This is the "safe" form of licorice. I will expand on this in a moment.

Licorice is found in formulas for inflammatory bowel disease ( aka IBS ), Crohn's Disease, and ulcerative colitis. It is found in formulas for detoxing the liver and in preparations used for treating mouth sores.

Licorice does have a downside that one needs to consider. Taking large amounts of licorice can lead to some serious side effects such as high blood pressure, water retention (edema), and weakness.

This usually comes from eating virtually pounds of the real licorice candy or swallowing the saliva from licorice flavored chewing tobacco.

It is fairly easy to avoid this, keep the dosage down. Another way to avoid it is to use the "safe" licorice. The DGL (deglycyrrhizinated) form of licorice gives almost all of the healing properties without the dangers.

If you have any concerns with high blood pressure, are pregnant, are hypokalemic (low serum potassium levels), or have kidney failure...you should NOT take licorice root.

A reasonable dosage for most conditions is as follows:

In capsule form --- 1,000 up to 3,000 milligrams per day, though I would not take 3,000mg for an extended period of time

In tincture form --- 10 to 30 drops two possibly three times per day

DGL can be purchased as a tablet. Chew one or two tablets which is 380 milligrams per tablet 20 minutes to a half hour before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.

There is another way to just enjoy licorice root. It makes a wonderfully sweet and soothing tea. Try it out the next time you have a cough or sore throat. Simply sprinkle a bit of the powdered herb into some hot water or your favorite tea.

Licorice Root

Licorice Tea

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      alexandra bebout 

      7 years ago

      i would assume you wrote this article yourself, and please post the uses of licorice for open wounds, nerves, or trauma???

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      8 years ago

      I've had symptoms of IBS or crohn's for over 8 months and while I continue to be evaluted by doctors I have been craving black licorice and I wondered why. Now, I realize how wise my body can be. My symptoms quell when I eat the licorice. I just so happen to have chosen a brand with real licorice root in it.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)