Licorice root has been used throughout history and is extremely beneficial to the human body. Over the years, it has been studied and its effects have been observed, to give people an accurate idea of how the herb can help.
What is Licorice Root?
Licorice root is an herb from the Mediterranean that has been used for its medicinal benefits from ancient times. It is extremely sweet, containing glycyrrhizin, which can be up to 50 times sweeter than sugar. Thus, the candy licorice, takes its name from the root known for its sweetness and medicinal benefits.
In the ancient world, it was used for the treatment of coughs, asthma, inflammation, and mucous membrane irritation. Documented use took place in Greece, China, Arabia, India, and more, making it a common treatment in history. In fact, licorice root was used as an ingredient in practically every herbal treatment in China, due to its ability to support and boost the effects of other herbs.
Today, people continue to use licorice root for multiple reasons. Having been used and promoted as an effective treatment option for centuries, people all over the world have discovered the natural gem that licorice root is.
What are the Benefits?
Users and studies have claimed abundant benefits when it comes to licorice root. Take a look at some of the most common health benefits of this ancient perennial herb:
- Helps with cold symptoms (coughs, sore throats)
One of the most common uses of licorice root is for help with colds and cold symptoms. For centuries, it has been used to reduce congestion that is associated with colds and coughs. Its help lies in its ability to loosen phlegm, expel it from the lungs, and provide a soothing sensation for the irritation of mucous membranes.
- Supports the digestive system and helps with acid reflux
It has been proven to be an effective aid in digestion. It also helps relieve acid reflux due to its ability to soothe the irritation and inflammation that occurs in the digestive tract.
Other negative effects of digestion issues, such as gas, bloating, and upset stomach, can be reduced, or eliminated with the use of licorice root. The extract of licorice root, combined with extracts from other herbs, has also been found to relieve other digestive issues such as vomiting and indigestion.
- Stomach ulcer relief
Stomach ulcers are caused by the H. Pylori bacteria. Due to the antibacterial properties found in licorice root, it has been used as treatment and relief for those who suffer from stomach ulcers.
- Anti-inflammatory properties that support the immune system
It contains compounds that assist in the regulation of T cell induction, which has a major role in immune response. The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root assist the immune system, aiding in the fight against illness and other immunosuppressed conditions.
- Helps fight viral infections
There are anti-viral properties in licorice root that have the potential to fight against influenza, hepatitis, SARS, herpes, and other infections. From a research standpoint, more studies could make them an integral part of healing illness.
- Constipation relief
This root works as a natural laxative, helping the colon contract to move waste through. Anyone suffering from constipation could potentially find relief using licorice root.
- Supports through PMS and menopause
Licorice root has been known to help relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause, including reducing hot flashes. This is due to certain effects of licorice that act like estrogen. The herb can be used as an effective addition to hormone therapy.
- Supports the adrenal system
As an apoptogenic herb, it helps the body regulate cortisol, which relieves the adrenal glands. This relief helps to reduce stress, which positively supports the entire physical and mental condition of the body.
Is It Safe?
Overall, licorice root is safe and provides multiple benefits for the physical and mental health of its users. However, users must be sure not to take too much licorice root or to take it for extended periods of time.
Glycyrrhiza, the main active ingredient in the herb, can cause a condition that creates an overactive sensitivity in the adrenal cortex. This oversensitivity can cause headaches, high blood pressure, and has been known to cause heart attacks.
Licorice root should not be taken for over a week at a time or be pregnant and breastfeeding women. With safe practices, licorice root can be a very useful treatment for multiple ailments.
Dr. Casey Sinclair, D.C. is a leading holistic healthcare doctor trained in functional medicine. He has extended his reach around the world by co-founding Family Health Advocacy, a health advocacy group lead by doctors and health professionals providing resources and education on global health matters. He has been fortunate to act as health a consultant to some of the largest companies in North America and as a professional speaker he’s had the privilege of speaking to thousands of people. Dr. Casey is an advocate for people suffering with chronic pain and fibromyalgia and has authored a book on the subject.