Licorice benefits uses side effects

Some of the benefits of licorice are weight loss, anti-ulcer, laxative, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and in traditional medicines uses of licorice include respiratory diseases, urinary track infections, gastrointestinal disease, skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, liver and spleen disease. It is also used to relieve addiction to tobacco.The botanical name of licorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn. It is also known by other name like Sweet wood, Aslussos, Mulethi, Jethimadhu and Atimadhuram.

It is widely used in all alternative system of medicines. The sweet flavor of liquorice is due to the presence of compound called anethole which is an aromatic, unsaturated ether also found in other herbs like anise and fennel. Majority of licorice sweetness comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound 30 to 50 times more sweet than table sugar and it also has various pharmaceutical effects.

Licorice roots are used in many different forms for medicinal purposes.
It’s main active chemical compounds are Glycyrrhizin or glycyrrhizic acid related compounds. It also contain phytoestrogens isoflavones but mainly Glabridin.

According to Charaka Samhita which is an early text on Ayurveda, the uses of licorice herb

It promote longevity.
It fasten the process of wound and bone fracture healing.
It helps to improve voice and skin complexion.
It helps to relieve itching sensation and vomiting.
This herb is widely used in many Ayurvedic treatment like in Panchakarma treatment, Vamana and basti treatment which is sort of rectal enema with various herbs decoctions.

Benefits of licorice in Ayurveda

In ancient times, licorice is used in many anti-aging therapies.
It is good for eyes and hair.
It helps to improve strength, immunity, voice and skin complexion.
It also increase sperm count and semen quality.
It detoxifies the blood and relives tiredness.

Evidence based benefits of licorice

Tropical application of 0.5% glabridin can inhibit UVB induced pigmentation and has anti-melangenesis effect due to inhibition of tyrosinase activity.

The flavoniods found in licorice decrease the antibiotic resistance and restore the effects of oxacillin against MRSA.

Glycyrrhetinic acid and its related compound found in licorice can inhibit liver carcinogenesis and tumor growth.

Glabridin compound found in licorice has proven to be effective in inhibition of cell metastasis by decreasing cancer cell migration and invasion in human non-small lung cancer A549cells.

Licorice is effective against breast cancer.

The anti-carcinogenic effect can be enhanced by roasting the root. Licorice inhibits triglyceride synthesis by inhibiting diacylglycerol acyltransferace , thus helps in weight loss and dyslipidemia.

Licorice has shown anti-viral effect against Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Licorice root powder can be taken up to 3 grams per day.

How to use Licorice?

Make decoction of licorice root and divide it into two parts. Take one part in morning and other part in evening.

Chew roots of licorice directly for improving voice and ulcers.

How to take licorice for voice improvement?

Chew small licorice stick of about 2-3 cm in length. Swallow the juice of licorice slowly in order to get relieve hoarseness of voice. Alternatively, take a teaspoon of licorice and mix it with honey and swallow this mixture. Licorice is widely popular among singers because of this voice improvement quality.

How to take licorice for canker sores?

Dissolve licorice in warm water and gargle with it 4 times per day.

Drug interaction with licorice

ACE inhibitors and diuretic drugs like capoten, lotensin, etc.
Digoxin
Corticosteroids
Insulin or drugs for diabetes
Laxatives
MAO inhibitors
Oral contraceptives
Warfarin (coumadin)
Medication processes by the liver

Word of caution:
Avoid using licorice during pregnancy as it may cause preterm labor and breast feeding.
Avoid using licorice product for longer than 4-6 weeks.
Avoid taking licorice in high dosage as it may increase blood pressure and other complications.
Inform your physician if you are taking licorice regularly

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