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

Native to southern europe, licorice is primarily cultivated around the mediterranean and in parts of the united states. A reliable mask for the taste of medicines, licorice is a component in cough lozenges, syrups, and elixirs. It is a flavouring representative in sweets and tobacco. The plant is sometimes 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 candy, also called licorice paste or black sugar, is processed from this thickened juice. [1],

The story of liquorice

For numerous millennia, liquorice has actually been one of the most typically utilized solutions in alternative medicine. It was for instance used as a throat pastille and that was how it took its place on the sweet shelves.

Liquorice originates 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 earliest tape-recorded uses of liquorice are also discovered here.

The history of liquorice can be dated to 2300 bc. China’s emperor shennong had the magnificent 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 likewise amongst the many treasures found in the egyptian pharaoh tutankhamun’s burial place from 1350 bc. Scholars still do not know why.

However, we do know that liquorice was a common component in much of the treatments 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 alleviating and anti-inflammatory impacts.

From medication to sweet

The history of liquorice continues from cough medicine to sweet in italy, france, germany and england. Many examples of the advancement of liquorice through the 19th century are plentiful that reminds us of its present usage.

Ga-jol from 1933 is one of the oldest existing liquorice items. It was released as a throat pastille against hoarse throat and coughing. In the beginning, difficult liquorice pastilles like ga-jol were intended 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 began producing boiled sugary foods, however changed their production to consist of liquorice and jellies.

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

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

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

The best licorice benefits

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 homes. All of this can assist you keep a fresh face.

In some research studies, topical items containing licorice compounds enhanced eczema. And in a 2018 study of rats, everyday application of licorice helped wounds recover much faster.

( do not) feel the burn

Heartburn and indigestion can be a total downer, but 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 research study, treatment that consisted of glycyrrhetinic acid (derived from licorice root) lowered symptoms of heartburn, chest discomfort, and stomach swelling.

Relieve stomach ulcers

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

Tbh, more research on human beings is required to show licorice’s advantages on ulcers 10/10.

An anti-cancer sweet too?

A number of smaller sized research studies suggest licorice may have favorable results for combating cancer. According to a test tube study, licorice can slow the growth of melanoma cells.

In a 2020 study, scientists used an antioxidant compound in licorice to prevent the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory. And in another study, the same licorice-derived compound prevented the growth of colon cancer in mice.

Licorice may also assist ease the impacts of cancer treatments. Folks who get radiation or chemotherapy often develop mouth sores called oral mucositis. Research suggests that a certain kind of oral licorice treatments can help.

Licorice might assist you breathe easier

Organic teas marketed for coughs and colds typically have licorice. According to 2019 research, licorice herbal tea hinders the growth of the bacteria that triggers strep throat (streptococcus pyogenes). Another research study on mice revealed licorice might lower throat swelling due to asthma.

Make your mouth shimmer

There’s evidence that licorice substances could support oral health. Research on mice shows that some specialized types of licorice may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial residential or commercial properties that can help with:.

  • Cavities
  • Gum illness
  • Mouth ulcers

Fyi: it’s important to keep in mind that more research on people is required to validate these advantages.

A research study of preschool kids revealed that licorice lollipops decreased cavity-causing germs.

Wait, there’s more!

Here are some other health advantages of licorice.

  • Manage hormones. Licorice can reduce testosterone production, making it a possible treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos).
  • Decrease menopause symptoms. Licorice root may assist with hot flashes.
  • Lower weight. A 2017 evaluation showed that licorice can lower body weight, but it also triggers hypertension.
  • Support liver health. Glycyrrhizic acid, a substance discovered in licorice, has prospective to help individuals with liver diseases like hepatitis. [3]

How to take licorice root

Licorice root is most frequently advised to help reduce digestion pain, and to improve energy in some patients. Tea which contains licorice root can also assist soothe your throat and reduce the intensity of other cold symptoms. Licorice root is also frequently used as a sweetener in food such as candy and should be taken with caution, as it might connect with medications and, in high doses, can trigger severe illness.

Taking licorice root supplements

  • Compare the two kinds of licorice root supplements. Licorice root naturally consists of an incredibly sweet part called glycyrrhizin. While glycyrrhizin is totally safe in little, irregular amounts, it can result in health complications if consumed long-term. As such, if you are thinking about taking licorice root supplements constantly, make certain to pick a deglycyrrhizinated (dgl) supplement.
    • The bottle needs to report the amounts of glycyrrhizin the dgl supplements consist of. It should be no more than 2% of the supplement for safe long-term usage.
  • Lower gastrointestinal pain with dgl supplements. Conditions such as heartburn, ulcers, and gastritis can lead to substantial pain connected with digestion. Dgl supplements can decrease this discomfort substantially.
    • Take anywhere from 380– 1200 milligrams of dgl about thirty minutes before you consume.
    • Considering that tablets are typically 380– 400 mg, start with one tablet and see if your symptoms are reduced.
  • Increase your energy with licorice supplements. Licorice root that still contains glycyrrhizin, in some cases called “entire” licorice, can momentarily assist you battle fatigue. Your adrenal gland can end up being overworked when constantly producing cortisol, which happens when you experience stress. Whole licorice root supplements, however, can postpone the body’s damage of cortisol and minimize the adrenal gland’s requirement to produce more.
    • Note that licorice root that has actually not had the glycyrrhizin removed ought to not be taken regularly.
    • To help keep cortisol levels regular, take the supplement with breakfast and lunch, however not with supper.
  • Minimize your use of “entire” licorice root supplements as your energy levels return to typical.
    1. Talk to your doctor about taking licorice root for other reasons. There are several other health advantages certified to licorice root that have yet to be fully corroborated by rigorous clinical study. For example, licorice root might help reduce blood glucose and insulin resistance, and can possibly help those at risk for diabetes.
    2. In addition, licorice root might assist secure you versus cavities.
    3. Finally, licorice root has actually been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, and it is utilized in some nations to deal with conditions varying from allergies to infection
  • Take your blood pressure daily while utilizing licorice supplements. This is especially essential if you’re utilizing “whole” licorice root supplements. Even with the glycyrrhizin eliminated, an everyday dgl supplement might impact your blood pressure. As such, examine your blood pressure daily for the few weeks of supplements. If your blood pressure shifts beyond your typical range, inform your physician and do not take any more licorice root supplements.
    • If your blood pressure remains stable for the very first few weeks of treatment, you can begin inspecting it less frequently, such as once or twice a week.

Combating symptoms of upper-respiratory infection

  • Drink a tea with licorice root to relieve a sore throat. Store-bought organic teas, particularly those mixed to assist relieve cold signs, often consist of licorice root. While other active ingredients, such as echinacea and goldenseal also help sanitize and recover an aching or irritated throat, licorice root and slippery elm are some of the very best herbs for this specific function.
  • Lower other cold signs with licorice root tea. Aside from soothing your throat, tea with licorice root can help treat other signs of a cold or upper respiratory infection as well. Licorice functions as an expectorant, and can assist your body expel the extra phlegm it produces when you have a cold.
    • Licorice root might also help reduce inflammation in your bronchial tubes, assisting you breathe more plainly.
  • Make your own licorice root tea. You can make your own tea using just licorice root for a more potent cold treatment, or to provide impacts comparable to that of taking a “entire” licorice root supplement for adrenal assistance. Use half an ounce of dried licorice root for every cup of water. Bring the mix to a bowl and after that simmer for 10 minutes.
    1. Enable the tea to rest in the pan for five minutes with the heat off.
    2. Pieces of dried root and chopped root are available at herb shops and online. The very best way to measure dried or sliced root is by weight.
    3. Consist of a cinnamon stick and few slices of ginger if you’re making tea to deal with an aching throat or a cough.
    4. Kids under 50 pounds (23 kg) need to not be provided licorice root tea.
    5. For kids over 50 pounds (23 kg), offer 1/3 cup approximately 3 times a day.
    6. As an adult, limit yourself to two cups each day.

Thinking about possible risks

  • Do not assume licorice root will treat you. While licorice is frequently taken to help reduce certain symptoms, it needs to not be taken in lieu of professional medical treatment. Put simply, there is inadequate clinical evidence to support making use of licorice root for any particular health ailment.
  • The medicinal claims of numerous herbalists, though extensively duplicated and accepted by other herbalists, are not backed by medical research studies.
  • Inform your doctor when taking natural supplements. Whenever you are utilizing or considering a complementary, integrative, or alternative health practice, alert your medical professional. Your doctor needs a full image of your health and what you do to manage it in order to assist you. Moreover, specific combinations of medications and herbs can be hazardous.
  • Among other concerns, the regular use of herbs may impact the health or performance of a few of your organs. Your physician might order blood work if you take herbs such as licorice root routinely.
  • Don’t take licorice root while pregnant. There is some danger of adverse results on your kid if you consume licorice root in any type, even candy, while pregnant. If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing, prevent licorice, licorice supplements, and licorice tea.
  • Do not provide licorice root in any type to kids that weigh under 50 pounds (23 kg). [4]

Grow your own licorice for healthier deals with

Growing licorice

When you realize for how long it takes to attain a harvest of licorice, the reason it is not more popular ends up being clearer. Commercially, licorice plants are not collected until they are four or five years of ages. However, in the house garden it is possible to take a little harvest after 3 years– about the length of time it considers your very first harvest of asparagus.

However it you have the patience the benefits are worth it. Growing from seed isn’t particularly tough however germination can be irregular, so it deserves sowing extra in case of failures. Sow seeds on the surface of potting compost in mid to late spring or early fall. Do not cover them. Keep them warm– about 20 ° c( 68 ° f)– and with any luck, 2 or three weeks later your licorice seedlings ought to have popped up.

Additionally, you may be able to source one- or two-year-old plants. Licorice will send up brand-new shoots from spreading underground stems, referred to as roots, from its 2nd year. These can also be cut off and utilized to grow new plants.

Licorice is relatively durable when developed, so in a lot of regions it can be planted out when the last spring frost has securely 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, but make it a deep pot because licorice has very long roots!

Licorice growing conditions

While licorice is slow to get going, it has the potential to become rather big after 4 or five years– approximately two meters (six feet) high, with a spread of about a meter (3 feet). If you’re planting in a flowerbed make certain to leave a lot of area 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 may sound! You might always plant shallow-rooting summer annuals like marigolds around it.

A riverbank plant by nature, licorice likes lots of water and sunlight. Prevent windy areas and frost pockets. Sandy soil is a must. If your soil is extremely heavy, prepare it prior to planting. Dig a pit a minimum of 2 spits large and deep (a spit is the length of a spade blade). Get rid of any stones, mix the soil with lots of garden compost and fill it back in.

Licorice is a legume, and like other beans it fixes nitrogen at its roots so seldom needs additional fertilizer. It will, nevertheless, appreciate periodic mulching to help keep weeds down and keep moisture while at the same time providing extra nutrients. Never let the soil dry out.

Slugs, caterpillars and spider termites can be an issue, and the plants can suffer from grainy mildew. Safeguard them from bunnies too. Otherwise licorice is pretty trouble-free.

Collecting licorice

When it’s finally time to reap your simply benefits, dig up 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 in really cold locations.

Chewed fresh, the root tastes sweet and a little salty. The sweet taste magnifies the more you chew and release the sap. Licorice can be used for flavoring a large range of dishes and beverages. The roots can likewise be dried for later use in teas and baking. Attempt keeping a root in a container of sugar to taste cakes with.

Ensure to collect it each year, since if left unharvested licorice roots can reach shocking lengths. Four meters (13 feet) is common, and eight meters (26 feet) is not unusual. Try untangling that from your flowerbed! [5]

Dose and types of licorice root

As a supplement, licorice root extract comes in several kinds, including capsules, powders, tinctures, topical gels, and teas. The root itself can also be bought either fresh or dried.

There’s currently no standard dosage suggestion. Nevertheless, the world health company (who) and european scientific committee of food (scf) both suggest restricting glycyrrhizin intake to no more than 100 mg each day.

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

In addition, as products do not always indicate the quantity of glycyrrhizin, it can be challenging to identify a safe amount. As a result, it is very important to discuss a safe and effective dose with your healthcare provider.

Another alternative is to try to find deglycyrrhizinated licorice (dgl) powders or pills.

These supplements are without glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for most of licorice’s side effects. Still, as this substance also contributes many advantages, it’s unclear whether dgl products have the very same positive health impacts.


You can take in licorice root as a tea, tincture, powder, or supplement. It can also be used topically as a gel. While there’s no standard dose for licorice root, you ought to limit your overall glycyrrhizin consumption to no more than 100 mg each day. [6]

Adverse effects, toxicity, and interactions

Licorice can trigger severe negative effects if you take excessive of it or use 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 too much licorice can trigger hypertension. This can be extreme. It can cause the following symptoms:.

  • Swelling since your body is maintaining water (edema)
  • Headache
  • Absence of energy (lethargy)
  • Heart failure or heart attack

You can even become poisoned from consuming too much candy which contains real licorice or using licorice-containing tobacco.

You shouldn’t take licorice if you have certain health concerns. These include:.

  • Low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
  • Persistent hepatitis
  • Cholestatic liver illness
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Heart rhythm concerns and other heart diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Serious kidney problems
  • A tumor in your adrenal glands (pheochromocytoma)
  • Aldosteronism
  • Without treatment hypothyroidism

You also should not take it if you consume a great deal of alcohol. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding also should not use this herb.

Don’t take licorice while fasting. Doing so can result in a major electrolyte imbalance.

Licorice can likewise interact with some medicines. Thiazide water pills (diuretics) may increase the quantity of potassium you lose when utilized with licorice. Licorice may also increase the results of digitalis. This is due to the fact that digitalis level of sensitivity is increased by low potassium levels.

Licorice may disrupt the effects of aldactone. This is a medicine used to deal with high blood pressure. Talk with your healthcare provider before you take licorice.

You likewise shouldn’t take licorice if you take warfarin. It may increase your metabolism and reduce the efficiency of warfarin. [7]

Prospective drug interactions

Medications that connect with licorice include:.

  • Drugs that lower potassium
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Diuretics, likewise known as water pills
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Blood thinners, such as warfarin (coumadin)
  • Estrogen, hormone therapy, and contraceptive pill
  • Corticosteroids

Some individuals might be able to take dgl supplements to avoid these interactions, but they need to consult with a physician first. [8]

Unique preventative measures and warnings

Pregnancy: it is hazardous to take licorice when pregnant. It might trigger a miscarriage or early delivery. Consuming about 250 grams of licorice per week appears to increase the danger of early delivery.

Breast-feeding: there isn’t adequate dependable information offered 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 shop water, and this can make heart failure even worse. Licorice can also increase the risk of irregular heartbeat. Don’t consume licorice if you have a heart disease.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: licorice may act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be worsened by exposure to estrogen, don’t use licorice.

High blood pressure: licorice can raise high blood pressure. Don’t take in large amounts of licorice if you have hypertension.

A muscle condition brought on by nerve issues (hypertonia): licorice can decrease potassium levels in the blood. This can make hypertonia even worse. Prevent licorice if you have hypertonia.

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

Kidney illness: taking in large amounts of licorice might make kidney illness worse.

Sexual problems: taking in large amounts of licorice can lower interest in sex. It can also get worse impotence (ed) by decreasing levels of testosterone.

Surgery: licorice may hinder high blood pressure control during and after surgical treatment. Stop taking licorice a minimum of 2 weeks prior to a set up surgery. [9]


Traditional chinese medicine has actually long utilized licorice root to deal with a variety of health conditions. It’s utilized in the contemporary age too, with some research study support for its benefits. Much remains unidentified about its effects, but it is believed to be safe to utilize in proper amounts.

Individuals utilize licorice root to alleviate signs of menopause, as well as treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions. It can be toxic if you take excessive and there can be negative effects, particularly among those with a history of liver or kidney problems. It likewise can engage with some of the medications you might already take. It’s a great concept to talk with your doctor about licorice root prior to taking it.

Licorice root comes in a range of forms. The quantity of active ingredient likewise can vary from one item to the next. Make sure that you have good details about the product prior to taking it so that you understand it is both safe and efficient. [10]


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