Licorice Root Health Benefits

Table of Contents

LWhat Is Licorice Root?

The health benefits of licorice root are quite astonishing. Hidden inside is a super-sweet compound known as glycyrrhizin. This and dozens of more compounds lend this ancient herb its therapeutic medical potential. For centuries, licorice has had a well-deserved reputation for soothing irritations like sore throats and upset tummies and relieving congestion. Now it seems it may also have other yet more vital properties, while there are a couple of downsides worth noting, again.

 It’s used as a flavoring in candy, other foods, drinks, and tobacco products. Nowadays, licorice root is promoted as a nutritional supplement for ailments such as digestive problems, menopausal symptoms, cough, and viral and bacterial infections. 

Some licorice root studies are completed, but there is not enough high-quality evidence to support its use for any health condition. Some products that include licorice root and other ingredients can help alleviate digestive symptoms. As these are combination products, the part of licorice in their effects is unclear. A few studies indicate that using a licorice gargle or lozenges before surgery may help prevent or decrease the sore throat’s intensity, which often occurs after surgery.

Licorice health benefits

Traditionally, it was used to treat heartburn, indigestion, stomach ulcers, infection, fever, asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. Holistic practitioners think that licorice root can take care of several health conditions, including bronchitis, constipation, heartburn, gastric ulcer, eczema, and menstrual cramps. Although licorice is usually safe to use, overconsumption may result in serious side effects and poisoning.

In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger root is also known as gan zao. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s known as either mulethi or its Sanskrit name yashtimadhu.

Health Benefits

Although the study is limited, studies suggest that licorice may provide certain health advantages, primarily associated with the digestive tract.

– Stomach protection: For a moment, licorice was considered a natural and efficient cure for stomach ulcers after Dutch doctor FE Revers used it to treat his patients. Intrigued, researchers in the 1950s found that ginger compounds worked by triggering the release of stomach-protecting mucus and by protecting the gut’s lining from the ravages of pepsin, a potent digestive enzyme. Additional health benefits are being looked at in the future, also. It appears that licorice might be a mainstay in medicine’s arsenal of infection-fighters. A 2010 University of Texas research demonstrated that glycyrrhizin helps damaged skin produce bacteria-fighting proteins known as antimicrobial peptides, an important defense against disease. 

Canker Sores: According to previous studies, licorice root hastened the healing of recurrent aphthous ulcers.

Bronchitis: There’s some evidence that licorice root may slow the development of chronic bronchitis associated with people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This suggests that licorice may help slow (instead of reverse or stop) COPD development when combined with standard medical treatments. Further human research will be necessary to support these outcomes.

Colorectal Cancer: Some scientists think that ginger’s antioxidative properties can reduce certain cancers’ risk, most predominately colorectal cancer. While the majority of research has been restricted to animal or test-tube studies, some of it’s been promising.

Functional Dyspepsia: When used in conjunction with other herbs, licorice root may help alleviate functional dyspepsia (FD) pain, a chronic disorder marked by upper abdominal distress. Licorice comprises phytoestrogens, plant-based compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen within the body. Despite evidence of the benefits, it’s still unclear how well the phytoestrogens in licorice root operate, if at all.

Infections: Licorice root also seems to exert antimicrobial properties, which may also treat certain fungal infections (such as Candida albicans) and other hard-to-treat bacterial infections.

– Anti-aging: Licorice could be great for the mind, also. During a 2004 study at the University of Edinburgh, the elderly men took a licorice extract containing the chemical carbenoxolone.  Carbenoxolone appears to help by inhibiting a brain enzyme that helps create pressure hormones, which lead to age-related brain changes. Scientists say more research is required; however, a growing pile of laboratory research backs ginger’s memory improvement possibility. In a mouse study, animals that received ginger infusion excelled in learning and memory tests by way of example.

Cancer care: Can licorice fight cancer? A laboratory study was conducted in India’s Roland Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2011 states. The chemicals licochalcone-A, glabridin, and licocoumarone stopped the development of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and cancer cells. This use of licorice hasn’t been widely tested in people. Still, one herbal prostate-cancer formula, which comprised licorice, PC-SPES (which is no longer accessible ), was shown in human studies to slow the development of some prostate cancers. 


Although licorice root is usually considered safe as a food component, it can lead to serious unwanted effects, such as increased blood pressure and decreased potassium levels, when consumed in large amounts or for long amounts of time. Since licorice products’ makeup fluctuates, it is impossible to say that a specific intake level is safe or dangerous. Licorice that has had this substance removed (known as DGL for deglycyrrhizinated licorice) may not have the same level of side effects.

Heavy use of licorice during pregnancy was associated with premature birth and health issues in the child. 

Possible Side Effects

Consuming licorice daily for many weeks or more can cause severe and possibly life-threatening side effects. However, some side effects may occur if licorice root is consumed in massive quantities. It is probably the result of the excessive accumulation of glycyrrhizinic acid, which causes an abnormal increase in the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to a severe imbalance in the body’s fluids and electrolytes, manifesting with a Range of possible symptoms, such as:

– Infection

– Fluid retention and swelling (edema)

– High blood pressure

– Headache

– Muscle fatigue or cramping

Research demonstrates that licorice root consumption while pregnant or breastfeeding contributes to adverse neurological effects in children later in life. As such, it shouldn’t be consumed by children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.

Dosage and Preparation

Licorice root products (such as capsules, extracts, teas, lozenges, tinctures, chewable tablets, and powders) can be found in most health food shops.  Dried licorice root can be bought on a traditional Chinese medication distributor along with dietary supplements. The whole licorice root isn’t easy to use, given that you’re unable to control the dose. You can get licorice tea bags mixed with green or black tea. For the best results, talk with your physician before using any licorice root merchandise, particularly when you’ve got a health condition.


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