Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Root Extract Benefits & Side Effects

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Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Root Extract has anti-ulcer, antacid and anti-inflammatory properties. It does help in the treatment of inflammatory diseases including ulcerative colitis, joint inflammation and chronic gastritis.

It is also used for disorders of digestive system. It is beneficial in heartburn, hyperacidity, mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers and all types of acute as well as chronic gastritis. Licorice Extract is a good remedy for sour taste in the mouth. It produces sweetness and rectifies acid production in the stomach.

Short Description about Licorice

Licorice, also known as a sweet herb, has been famous for its food and medicinal properties from years together. The extract of Licorice (MULETHI) plant is used as a sweetening agent and is usually grown in various areas of Greece and Turkey.

Historically important, Licorice Extract has been used over the years to treat disorders namely heartburn, ulcers, sore throat, bronchitis, cough, cold, respiratory tract disease, liver disease and bacterial infections.

Derived from the fibrous woody pieces of Licorice plant, Licorice extract can also be used in the formation of food flavoring, medicines, beverages and medicinal skin ointments.

Uses and Benefits of Licorice Extract

Peptic and Mouth Ulcers

Studies have proved that Licorice extract in medicines has been beneficial in healing at least 90% stomach ulcers. However, some evidences only indicate that Licorice only helps in speeding up the process of healing stomach ulcers and mouth ulcers.

Skin Ailments

In skin ailments like psoriasis and eczema, licorice extract has shown evidential improvements. Its presence in creams and gels has shown reduction in itching, swelling and redness.

Bleeding

Some research evidences indicate that some skin products comprising of Licorice as one of their ingredients have shown reduction in bleeding after surgery.

Respiratory Infections

Licorice Extract is known to be a good treatment in regular respiratory ailments such as cough and cold.

Indigestion (Dyspepsia)

Dyspepsia or Indigestion can be treated with the use of Licorice in combination with peppermint and chamomile.

Liver Disease

2 Grams of Licorice consumed daily for two months can likely aid in the treatment of Fatty Liver Disease (non-alcoholic).

Weight Loss

However,  licorice powder does not influence the body weight and it balances weight gain and weight loss, but licorice extract may be beneficial for losing weight. Several researches have indicated that Licorice extract can help reduce weight and eliminate cholesterol. The licorice extract may have impact on weight loss in higher dosage more than 1000 mg a day.

Canker Sores

Licorice Patches have shown improvement in reducing Canker sores and the pain caused by them. Some other studies also say that gargling with Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) might help with Canker Sores.

Licorice Extract is likely to treat following diseases.

  • Skin Discoloration
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Liver Disease
  • Dental Plaque
  • High Cholesterol
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Lupus
  • Arthritis

Side Effects of Licorice Extract

Although Licorice Extract is POSSIBLY SAFE in lower amounts, but it may have a few side effects when consumed in exceptionally large amounts more than four weeks. It can have the following side effects.

  • Lower Potassium Levels
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Water Retention
  • Failure to Menstruate
  • Decreased Libido
  • Brain Damage(rare)
  • Paralysis (rare)

Contraindications

It is unsafe to consume Licorice Extract in the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast Feeding
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac Ailments
  • Hypertonia
  • Hypokalemia
  • Psychiatric disorder
  • Kidney Diseases
  • Surgery
  • Migraine
  • Hormonal Therapy

Drug Interactions

If you are already consuming the following medicines, then should not take Licorice Extract.

  1. Steroidal Medicines
  2. Water Pills
  3. Warfarin
  4. Oral Midazolam
  5. Furosemide
  6. Digoxin
  7. Estrogen Pills

Licorice can also combine with certain herbs that have an effect on the heart. It may also interact with laxatives.

These are a few drug interactions listed above. There might be other medicines as well.

A Word of Caution

Immediately ask for medical help when you notice any signs of allergy from Licorice. These may include difficulty in breathing, swollen throat, lips, tongue and face.

Ayurvedic Consultation

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Questions & Answers (2)

  1. Sonali says

    Is licorice a laxative?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Licorice has mild laxative action in the body, but it also has several other actions through which it helps in the constipation. The following effects of licorice are observed.
      1. It provides strength to the musculature of your alimentary canal. Weakened intestinal or bowel cause retention of foods in the bowel.
      2. According to ayurveda, it has soothing and lubricating action by which it helps in constipation hard and dry stools.
      3. It also has effect on liver and gall bladder. It increases the formation of bile from the cholesterol and increases bile’s secretion in intestines, which further induces peristaltic movements and helps passing stools easier.

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