Licorice Root


Licorice - (Glycyrrhiza glabar) Asian and European
American Licorice - (Glycyrrhiza Lipida)
Liquorice - (British term)

A perennial shrub found wild in southern and central Europe, Southwest Asia, Northern China, and Mongolia. For many centuries licorice has been one of China's most popular healing herbs. The herb has a long history in the west as well. Amid the treasures of king Tut's tomb archeologists found a bundle of licorice sticks (dried root).

Properties and uses: Demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, and laxative. True to its Greek name, sweet root, licorice is 50 times sweeter than sugar.

As early as the late 17 hundreds, the Americans began to use it to sweeten tobacco. It also works well as a sweetener for coffee or other herbal beverage tea. One of the major uses for licorice root in medicines is for bronchial problems, coughs, hoarseness, and mucous congestion, etc…

It is also used for stomach problems such as peptic ulcers, bladder and kidney ailments, urinary problems and menstruation discomforts. It is also used to treat a variety of cancers by many cultures. Studies have shown licorice to have anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties.

Licorice stimulates all production of enterferon, the body's own antiviral compound, according to a study published in microbiology and immunology. Not surprisingly often studies show it fights Herpes Simplex virus, the cause of genital herpes and cold sores. Sprinkling some powdered licorice root on clean sores may help heal herpes.

Many laboratory studies show licorice also fights disease-causing bacteria (staphylococci and streptococci) and the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infection (candida albicans). Sprinkling some powdered licorice root on clean wounds may help prevent infections.

Hepatitis, Cirrhosis
Chinese physicians have used licorice for centuries to treat liver problems. Asian studies show the herb helps control hepatitis and improves liver functions in people with cirrhosis.

Intriguing Possibilities
Immune stimulation may help explain licorice's antitumor activity against cancerous melanomas in experimental animals. It's too early to call the herb a treatment for these tumors, but in the future it might become one.

The safety factor
U.S. medical journals have been slow to pick up on licorice's success, but has jumped all over it's potential for causing pseudoaldosteron, symptoms of which include headache, lethargy, water retention, elevated blood pressure, and possible heart failure. The problems are real and some people should not ause licorice. However, in moderation most people can use it safely. There have been no reports of licorice sticks or the powdered herb causing problems. The problem is about 25 reports in the world medical literature- have been caused by the highly concentrated licorice extracts used in some candies, laxatives, and tobacco products. Most have resulted from overindulgence in licorice candies. Remember that most U.S. "licorice" contains anise, not licorice. Real licorice is available in specialty shops. Licorice is included in the food and drug administrations list of herbs generally regarded as safe.

Always check with your doctor
Before using any herb as a medical treatment. For otherwise healthy non pregnant, non nursing adults who do not have diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, or a history of heart disease or stroke and are not taking digitalis like medications, licorice is considered relatively safe when used cautiously in amounts typically recommended for brief periods. If licorice causes minor discomforts, such as stomach upset or diarrhea, use less or stop using it.

Do not give licorice to children under the age of 2 years old. Older children and adults over 65 should start with low strength preparations and increase strength if necessary.

Herbal Decoction
To make a possible infection- fighting decoction, gently boil ½ to 1 teaspoon of powdered herb per cup of water for 10 min. Drink up to 2 cups per day. Licorice is also a good breath freshener. You can place a small chip in the mouth and suck on it for hours.

(On a personal note * My favorite beverage is a cup of licorice root tea, with a 10cc bottle of liquid ginseng abstract added to it).

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