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
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
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
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
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.
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
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