The benefits of licorice root has become synonymous with a strong caramel flavor, but the herb itself, Glycyrrhiza glabra, has very different strengths. An adaptogenic herb, licorice root can be found growing in Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia, and has been used for thousands of years and dozens of purposes, including as a leaking intestinal remedy. If licorice root benefits from so many conditions, why do we only think of it as a caramel flavoring? What is DGL licorice root and is it necessary to buy special licorice root supplements?
Let’s analyze the story, use and question the surrounding licorice root. This ancient herb has much to offer. Licorice is a familiar name in sweets, but it is time for licorice root to become famous for its benefits.
Licorice Root History:
Licorice is a member of the legume family, and although there are species that grow in the US. In the USA, Glycyrrhiza glabra is mainly native to Europe and Asia. In addition, you may see “Chinese licorice” in the products. Benefits of licorice root are mainly the same between the two varieties; however, it is worth noting that glabra is generally the variety referred to when talking about licorice root. Glycyrrhiza’s name reflects her best-known fame: “sweet root.” With an extract that can be 30 to 50 times sweeter than sugar, we can see why our ancestors were inspired to make it sweet. In Chinese medicine, the licorice root antiinflammatory has been used for centuries for many of the same uses as science has now confirmed: coughs and colds, gastrointestinal problems and female reproductive problems. An interesting note about the way licorice has been used in Chinese medicine is that it was used as a “guide drug.” Licorice root was used along with other herbs and remedies to improve its effects and essentially guide the other herbs where to be most beneficial! This ancient purpose, along with other benefits of licorice root, certainly contributed to the root of Licorice was the most used herb in Chinese medicine!
Nor did Europeans ignore the benefits of licorice root as a supplement. Licorice root has documented uses from ancient times, from ancient Greece and Rome to the middle Ages and beyond. On the 20 th century, the manufacture allowed root to be stripped for pharmaceutical uses and then extracted caramel sweetener. Now, that familiarly strong licorice flavor is usually replicated by anise seed with similar flavor (a common biblical herb ), but you can still get genuine licorice candy, usually “black licorice” to distinguish it from the red imitation candy. The medicinal strength and benefits of licorice root are prominent enough that the FDA has issued a notice so that consumers know that black licorice is more than a candy. Even when the root extract is used only for sweetening, it cannot be ignored as a potent compound. And while the root is the main part used for supplements and remedies, the leaves have also been evaluated for their antimicrobial benefits. In one study, the leaves gave good results against bacteria and, therefore, can function as cured staphylococci and candida.
Benefits of Licorice Root:
Looking at the various compounds in licorice and their clear benefits, it is not surprising that this ancient herb has endured through the centuries! Only some indications for licorice root include heartburn, bowel loss, adrenal fatigue, premenstrual syndrome and pain relief. These types of conditions are terribly prominent in our society. It would be very difficult to find someone who is not affected by one (or more!) Of these conditions. Heartburn is a facet of gastrointestinal disorders that Americans spend $ 90 billion (!) To remedy, every year. Let’s take a quick look at each of these common conditions and how licorice root benefits them.
1. Acid Reflux:
It was discovered that an extract of licorice root is effective against functional dyspepsia, which includes not only heartburn but also a natural remedy for nausea, indigestion and stomach pain. The type used for the study was licorice DGL, which left participants without negative side effects associated with glycyrrhizin. DGL can be purchased as chewable tablets that can be taken before meals.
2. Help with Intestinal Health
Tied to systemic health problems, leaky gut syndrome can be difficult to address. As an anti-inflammatory and demulcent (soothing) herb, licorice root works as a natural remedy for ulcers and can be a beneficial supplement for the respiratory tract.
3. Adrenal Fatigue:
Despite living in a relatively simple time in history, our society is plagued with environmental, physical and mental stress disorders. Many of us have sent our adrenal glands at full speed, as if we were running away from woolly mammoths when we are really dealing with a budget problem or a decision at work.
“It was found that licorice helps the body regulate cortisol, the stress hormone, more efficiently, which gives a breath to the adrenal glands”.
It turns out that it is one of the main adaptogen herbs to help improve the stress response.
Licorice is emerging as a leading player in the search for treatment and prevention of diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV and influenza. The triterpenoid content has been confirmed as an antiviral, so licorice extract is a potentially strong partner for the immune system. One study described that licorice has “antioxidant, radical scavenger and immunostimulant” properties.
5. Cough / Sore Throat:
Licorice root benefits a sore throat or cough immensely as an effective expectorant, helping to loosen and expel the mucus that the cough tries to eliminate. Its soothing demulcent and anti-inflammatory properties can provide quick relief for sore throat. Demulcents need to make contact with the part of the body that needs to be soothed, so extracts in cough drops and syrups, as well as tea, are more effective.
The benefits of licorice root also seem to have an estrogen-like effect in women, lending it as an option for concerns related to menstruation and fertility, even as a natural remedy for premenstrual syndrome. For the treatment of menopause, licorice was shown to be better than hormone replacement therapy to reduce the duration of hot flashes.
7. Cramp Relief:
As an antispasmodic, licorice can have an effect on both abdominal and potentially muscle cramps. Topically, licorice can relieve the discomfort of eczema and other dermal conditions, as it acts as a hydrocortisone. Anti-inflammatory benefits can also help relieve pain, even act as a natural remedy for joint pain.
Side Effects and Recommended Use of the Benefits of Licorice Root:
The side effects of licorice root are mainly related to glycyrrhizin, so if any of them are concerned, DGL licorice is probably the best option. Never consume licorice root extract if you are pregnant, as it may increase the risk of preterm birth or miscarriage, or if you have heart, liver or kidney problems. Some evidence suggests that taking licorice as a supplement may have estrogen-like effects on conditions sensitive to female hormones (breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids) and should not be taken by people with such diseases It can also make hypertonia worse (a muscle condition caused by a nervous illness), potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) or erectile dysfunction .
If you consume licorice root extract, the recommended dose is a maximum of six grams per day when used for a 130-pound person in order to limit the amount of glycyrrhizin. Side effects to consider include edema, high blood pressure, low potassium levels and chronic fatigue. Also, stop taking licorice root two weeks before surgery, as it can interfere with blood pressure control during surgical procedures. While licorice root extract should not be taken more than 1-3 months in a row, licorice DGL can be taken in the long term.