Licorice Root Benefits, Uses, and Potential Side Effects

Licorice root benefits

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For generations, people have valued the medicinal licorice root benefits, which are derived from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant. This extraordinary herb is widely used in traditional medicine and cooking due to its distinct sweet flavor.

Famous for its unique sweet flavor, licorice root is frequently used to improve the flavor of candies, drinks, and herbal teas. Beyond its culinary applications, licorice root has a long history in traditional medicine. Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, in particular, highly respect the root for its health advantages. A 2020 study supports that licorice root alone as well as with other herbs have been used for many digestive ailments in traditional medicines.

This amazing herb’s therapeutic benefits are attributed to many active components, including flavonoids, different plant sterols, and glycyrrhizin.

But it’s crucial to remember that, like any strong herb, licorice root should only be used sparingly because too much of it might have negative consequences. We will go into the many applications, health advantages, and possible drawbacks of licorice root in the following article to give you a thorough grasp of this all-natural cure.

Chemical Composition and Active Compounds

Glycyrrhizin: The Key Component of Licorice Root

Glycyrrhizin is a major active compound in licorice root which lends the herb its characteristic sweetness. It also boasts anti-inflammatory properties and is widely studied for its potential therapeutic effects on various health issues. A 2021 comprehensive review says that glycyrrhizin is a chemical present in licorice root and offers a wide range of health benefits.

Flavonoids and Plant Sterols

Licorice root contains flavonoids and plant sterols which are essential components known for their antioxidant properties. These compounds are crucial in neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body, promoting overall well-being. The same 2021 review also says that the four flavonoids present in the licorice root and licorice extract have shown many promising biological activities.

Other Essential Compounds

Apart from glycyrrhizin, licorice root has an array of essential compounds. These include saponins, coumarins, and chalcones, each contributing unique health benefits. Saponins, for instance, are valued for their expectorant properties, making licorice root a natural remedy for respiratory issues.

Licorice Root Benefits And Uses

Licorice Root Benefits And Uses

1. Digestive Health

Soothe Your Gastric Discomfort

Licorice root is well-known for its natural soothing properties, making it an effective remedy for various gastric discomforts. It helps relieve stomach pains, bloating, and cramps, providing much-needed relief to individuals with digestive issues.

Managing Acid Reflux and Peptic Ulcer

Licorice root helps manage acid reflux by forming a protective layer on the stomach lining, preventing the harsh acids from irritating. This natural approach to acid reflux relief offers a gentle alternative to conventional medications. A 2020 study says that as a processed licorice extract, deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), has been shown to reduce gastric ulcers, it is also strongly indicated for the prevention of gastric ulcers in patients requiring long-term treatment with ulcerogenic drugs such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, and corticosteroids

2. Respiratory Support

Relives Your Coughs and Sore Throats

Licorice root’s expectorant properties make it valuable in easing coughs and soothing sore throats. Its ability to loosen mucus and phlegm facilitates easier breathing, providing comfort during colds and respiratory infections. A 2021 study says that an anti-inflammatory compound called Glabridin in licorice root is shown to be effective in improving respiratory infections.

Asthma Management

Licorice root’s anti-inflammatory effects extend to the respiratory system, making it beneficial for asthma management. By reducing inflammation in the airways, licorice root can potentially relieve symptoms and improve breathing for individuals with asthma.

How to use licorice root for Respiratory support?

Here is a simple home remedy to use licorice root for your respiratory support

  1. Obtain Licorice Root

Start by obtaining licorice root from a reputable herbal store or online supplier. You can choose licorice root sticks or licorice root powder based on your preference.

  1. Prepare Licorice Root Infusion

For respiratory support, prepare a licorice root infusion by boiling a cup of water. Add one licorice root stick or a teaspoon of licorice root powder to the boiling water. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes, allowing the active compounds to infuse into the water.

  1. Add Additional Ingredients (Optional)

Enhance the respiratory benefits by adding other beneficial ingredients. For example, you can include slices of fresh ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties and a natural hint of spiciness. A dash of turmeric can also be added for its potential respiratory and

immune-boosting effects.

  1. Strain and Sweeten (Optional)

After simmering, strain the infusion to remove licorice root and other particles. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add a natural sweetener like honey. Honey not only adds flavor but also offers its respiratory-soothing properties.

  1. Drink Warm Infusion

Enjoy the warm licorice root infusion preferably in the morning or before bedtime. The infusion can help alleviate coughs, soothe sore throats, and support overall respiratory health. Regular consumption, in moderation, can aid in maintaining clear and comfortable breathing.

3. Immune System Boost

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Licorice root contains compounds with potent anti-inflammatory properties, which help modulate the immune response. By reducing inflammation, licorice root supports overall immune health and aids in the body’s natural defense mechanisms.

Antiviral Effects

Studies suggest that licorice root exhibits antiviral effects, particularly against certain strains of viruses. These properties make licorice root a promising natural remedy for preventing and managing viral infections, offering a complementary approach to conventional antiviral therapies.

4. Licorice Root Benefits For Skin

Skin Lightening and Blemish Reduction

Licorice root is known for its skin-brightening effects. It inhibits melanin production, helping lighten dark spots and blemishes. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties soothe irritated skin, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products targeting uneven skin tone.

According to the 2021 study, a transdermal delivery system (patch-like delivery system for medicines) was developed which contained Glibridin, a chemical compound of licorice root. It showed promising results in treating skin hyperpigmentation. It showed to enter the skin and suppress melanogenesis. Therefore, glabridin is extensively used in cosmetics because of its ability to enhance pigmentation

How to use licorice root for skin?

Prepare Licorice Root Paste

To create a skin-brightening paste, grind licorice root into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle. Mix the powder with a small amount of water or rose water to form a thick paste.

Licorice root powder can also be blended with other natural ingredients like yogurt or aloe vera gel for added benefits.

Apply the Paste to Your Skin

Gently apply the licorice root paste onto your clean face, focusing on areas with dark spots, blemishes, or uneven skin tone. If you’re using licorice root-infused skincare products, follow the product’s instructions for application.

Leave the Paste On for 15-20 Minutes

Allow the licorice root paste to dry on your skin for about 15-20 minutes. During this time, the active compounds in licorice root, particularly glabridin, work to inhibit melanin production, helping lighten dark spots and promote a more even complexion.

Rinse Off and Moisturize

After the paste has dried, gently rinse your face with lukewarm water. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel and apply a light, non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. For best results, repeat this process 2-3 times a week.

Remember, individual skin types vary, so it’s essential to perform a patch test before applying licorice root paste to your face, especially if you have sensitive skin. Additionally, if you experience any irritation or discomfort, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.

5. Licorice Root Benefits For Hair

Licorice root is believed to nourish the scalp and promote hair health. It helps maintain a healthy scalp environment, potentially reducing dandruff and dryness. By strengthening hair follicles, licorice root contributes to overall hair vitality and shine.

How to use licorice root for hair?

Prepare Licorice Root Hair Mask

To create a nourishing hair mask, mix licorice root powder with warm water, aloe vera gel, or coconut oil to form a smooth paste. The consistency should be thick enough to apply easily but not too runny. Licorice root’s natural properties can help soothe the scalp, reduce dandruff, and promote hair health.

Apply the Hair Mask

Divide your hair into sections and apply the licorice root hair mask generously to your scalp and hair, focusing on the roots and any problematic areas. Gently massage the mask into your scalp to ensure even distribution. If you prefer a less messy application, licorice root extract can also be diluted with water and applied directly to the scalp.

Leave it On for 30-45 Minutes

Cover your hair with a shower cap or a warm towel and leave the licorice root hair mask on for 30 to 45 minutes. This allows the active compounds in licorice root to penetrate your scalp and hair, promoting hair health and addressing common issues like dandruff.

Rinse and Shampoo

After the designated time, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Follow up with a mild, sulfate-free shampoo to remove any residue. Avoid using hot water, as it can strip your

hair of its natural oils. Use this licorice root hair mask once a week for best results and to maintain healthy, nourished hair.

6. Licorice Root Benefits For Liver

Licorice root has been studied for its hepatoprotective properties. It may support liver health by promoting detoxification and protecting liver cells from damage. These licorice root benefits highlight the potential role in maintaining liver function.

7. Chewing Licorice Root

Chewing licorice root has been a traditional practice in various cultures. It not only serves as a natural breath freshener but also provides a mild, enjoyable sweetness. However, it is essential to chew licorice root in moderation due to its active compounds.

8. Licorice Root Tea

Licorice Root Tea

Licorice root tea is a popular herbal infusion known for its soothing properties. It offers a comforting way to enjoy the licorice root benefits. The tea can be prepared by steeping dried licorice root slices in hot water, creating a warm, flavorful beverage. According to the 2021 study licorice root is also used by many Western countries in tea and other extract forms for their amazing health benefits.

However, It should be used in moderation as another study 2015 says that 45 years old woman presented to her general practitioner with 4 months history of hot flashes, sweating, and headaches. On examination, she was found to be hypertensive, and blood tests revealed mild hypokalaemia. She was drinking up to six cups of licorice tea per day as a substitute for caffeinated tea and fruit-based infusions. The patient immediately stopped consuming the drink and within 2 weeks her symptoms, hypertension, and hypokalaemia had entirely resolved.

Ingredients

  1. 1 teaspoon of dried licorice root (you can find licorice root in health food stores or online)
  2. 1 cup of water
  3. Optional: honey, lemon, or your favorite herbal tea for added flavor

Instructions

  1. Boil Water

Bring one cup of water to a boil in a pot or kettle.

  1. Add Licorice Root

Place 1 teaspoon of dried licorice root in a teapot or a heat-resistant cup.

  1. Pour Boiling Water

Pour the boiling water over the licorice root into the teapot or cup. Cover the pot or cup with a lid or a small plate to trap the steam. Let it steep for about 5-7 minutes. If you prefer a stronger tea, you can steep it for a bit longer.

  1. Optional: Add Flavorings of your desire

You can enhance the flavor of your licorice tea by adding a slice of lemon for a citrusy twist or a teaspoon of honey for sweetness. Licorice tea already has a natural sweetness, so taste it first before adding sweeteners.

  1. Strain and Serve

After steeping, strain the tea to remove the licorice root particles. Pour the tea into your favorite cup and enjoy. If you like, you can mix licorice tea with other herbal teas for a unique flavor combination.

Note

  • Licorice tea has a naturally sweet taste, so you may find that it doesn’t need additional sweeteners.
  • Pregnant women and individuals with high blood pressure or kidney issues should consult a healthcare professional before consuming licorice tea regularly due to its potential effects on blood pressure and fluid retention.

9. Licorice Root Tea Benefits

Licorice root tea provides a gentle way to experience the herb’s advantages. Regular consumption may aid digestion, promote respiratory health, and contribute to overall

well-being. Its pleasant taste and potential health benefits make licorice root tea a popular choice among herbal tea enthusiasts.

10. Boost-Up Your Weight Loss

Licorice root has gained attention in weight management due to its potential to aid in the process of shedding extra pounds. It contains compounds that may help regulate cortisol levels, the stress hormone linked to weight gain, especially around the abdominal area.

By modulating cortisol, licorice root might contribute to reducing overall body fat. However, it’s crucial to use licorice root supplements or teas in moderation and as part of a balanced lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, to maximize its benefits for weight loss. A 2003 study shows that licorice was able to reduce body fat mass.

11. Reduce Menopause Symptoms

For women going through menopause, licorice root offers a natural approach to managing the associated symptoms.

Licorice root contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, as also mentioned in a 2020 study. These compounds can help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. By providing hormonal balance, licorice root offers a gentler alternative to hormone replacement therapy for some women.

12. Help Treat Hepatitis C

Recent studies have explored licorice root’s potential in treating hepatitis C, a viral infection that affects the liver. Licorice root extract has shown antiviral properties that might inhibit the

replication of the hepatitis C virus in the body. The active compound glycyrrhizin in licorice root is believed to interfere with the virus’s life cycle, as also mentioned in a 2011 study that glycyrrhizin in licorice inhibits Hepatitis C full-length viral particle and its core gene expression and also showed additive effect with interferons. While research is ongoing, these findings indicate a promising avenue in the development of natural treatments for hepatitis C.

Licorice Root Side Effects

According to WebMD, Licorice extract is mostly used by adults in doses of 100-990 mg by mouth daily for 2-24 weeks. When a chemical called glycyrrhizin is removed, it is possibly safe when taken in doses of up to 4.5 grams daily for up to 4 months. According to them consuming 5 grams of glycyrrhizin-containing licorice for several weeks can cause several harsh side effects including heart attack.

  • Licorice root should be consumed in moderation, as excessive intake may lead to increased blood pressure and fluid retention due to its glycyrrhizin content.
    • According to The University of Rochester Medical Centre; Taking too much licorice can cause high blood pressure. This can be severe. It can cause the following symptoms:
    • Swelling because your body is retaining water (edema)
    • Headache
    • Lack of energy (lethargy)
    • Heart failure or cardiac arrest
  • Prolonged or high-dose usage can cause potassium imbalance, leading to muscle weakness or irregular heartbeat.
  • Individuals with hypertension, kidney problems, or heart conditions should avoid licorice root, as it can exacerbate these conditions.
  • Licorice root may interact with certain medications, affecting their effectiveness or causing adverse reactions.
  • Allergic reactions to licorice root are rare but possible; individuals allergic to legumes or plants like peas and soybeans may be at higher risk.

Is Licorice Root Safe for Pregnancy?

Licorice root is not recommended during pregnancy due to its potential to cause high blood pressure and fluid retention. Pregnant individuals should consult their healthcare provider before using licorice root supplements or products.

Is It Safe to Take Licorice Root Every Day?

Licorice Root benefits

While licorice root in moderate amounts is generally safe for most people, daily consumption should be approached cautiously. Long-term or excessive use can lead to adverse effects, particularly on blood pressure and potassium levels. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Who Should Not Take Licorice Root?

Individuals with high blood pressure, kidney issues, heart conditions, or those taking medications affected by licorice root should avoid its consumption. People with allergies to legumes or related plants should also steer clear of licorice roots.

Is Licorice Root Good for the Skin?

Yes, licorice root is valued for its skin-soothing and brightening properties. It helps lighten dark spots and blemishes, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products. Its anti-inflammatory qualities also contribute to its effectiveness in calming irritated skin.

Does Licorice Root Brighten Skin?

Yes, licorice root brightens the skin by inhibiting melanin production. This natural skin-lightening effect helps reduce hyperpigmentation and creates a more even complexion, promoting a brighter and healthier-looking skin tone.

How to Eat Licorice for Skin Whitening?

Licorice root can be incorporated into skincare routines through topical products containing licorice extract. Additionally, licorice root tea can be brewed and used as a toner, providing the skin with beneficial properties. However, it’s essential to use licorice-based products as directed and consult a dermatologist for personalized skincare advice.

Conclusion

Licorice root emerges as a versatile herb, celebrated not only for its delightful sweetness in culinary creations but also for its numerous health benefits. From easing digestive discomfort to providing respiratory relief, licorice root shows its effects in traditional and modern medicine alike.

Its skin-brightening properties have made it a sought-after ingredient in skincare products, emphasizing its natural appeal for enhancing beauty. However, caution must be exercised, especially concerning its potential side effects, interactions with medications, and suitability for specific individuals, such as pregnant individuals or those with certain health conditions.

Using licorice root in moderation, whether in tea form or as a topical remedy, allows individuals to harness its remarkable advantages while appreciating the wisdom of centuries-old herbal traditions.

Also Read: Benefits of Harad: Harad is a Traditional & Medicinal Plant

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