Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) : Benefits & Uses

Welcome to Moolihai Canada. In this comprehensive guide on licorice root, a powerful herb that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, we will find out all the goods and bads of licorice root.

At Moolihai, we’re passionate about bringing you high-quality, natural products like our own licorice root and licorice root powder.

 In this article, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of licorice root, its potential uses, and important safety considerations. Whether you’re a long-time fan of this sweet root or just beginning to explore its potential, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about this remarkable plant.

What is Licorice Root?

Licorice root, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a perennial herb native to parts of Europe and Asia. It has been used for thousands of years in various cultures, including ancient Egypt, China, and India, for its medicinal properties. The root contains over 300 different compounds, with glycyrrhizin being the most active and well-known.

Glycyrrhizin is responsible for many of licorice’s therapeutic effects, as well as its distinctively sweet taste – it’s estimated to be 50 times sweeter than sugar! This compound has demonstrated antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties in numerous studies.

At Moolihai Canada, we offer pure licorice root and licorice root powder, carefully sourced and processed to maintain its natural benefits. Our products are derived from the highest quality licorice plants, ensuring that you receive the full spectrum of beneficial compounds this amazing root has to offer.

Historical Use of Licorice Root:

Before we dive into the modern applications of licorice root, it’s fascinating to look at its rich history. Ancient Egyptians revered licorice root so highly that large quantities were found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

 In traditional Chinese medicine, licorice root has been used for over 5,000 years to treat various ailments and is often referred to as “the great harmonizer” due to its ability to enhance the effects of other herbs.

In Europe, licorice root gained popularity during the Middle Ages and was widely used by herbalists and apothecaries. Even Napoleon Bonaparte was known to chew licorice root to settle his stomach before battles!

Potential Health Benefits of Licorice Root:

May Offer Digestive Health Support:

Licorice root has long been used to support digestive health. It may help soothe the stomach lining and reduce symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion. 

Some studies suggest that licorice root can be effective in treating peptic ulcers by increasing mucus production in the stomach and promoting healing of the stomach lining.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that licorice root extract was effective in reducing symptoms of functional dyspepsia, a chronic disorder of the upper digestive tract. Participants who took licorice root extract experienced significant improvement in symptoms like nausea, bloating, and stomach pain compared to those who took a placebo.

May Provide Respiratory System Support:

If you’re dealing with a persistent cough or sore throat, licorice root might offer some relief. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritated tissues in the throat and upper respiratory tract. Some research suggests that licorice root may even help in managing asthma symptoms, though more studies are needed to confirm this benefit.

A 2017 study published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry found that glycyrrhizin, the main active compound in licorice root, demonstrated significant anti-asthmatic effects in animal models. The researchers suggested that licorice root could potentially be developed into a natural treatment for asthma.

May Improve Skin Health

Licorice root extract has shown promise in treating various skin conditions. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may help in managing eczema, acne, and other skin irritations. Some studies have found that topical application of licorice root extract can be as effective as hydrocortisone cream for eczema symptoms.

A 2018 review published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment highlighted the potential of licorice extract in treating hyperpigmentation disorders. The review found that licorice extract, particularly a compound called glabridin, can inhibit tyrosinase activity, which is responsible for melanin production in the skin.

May Improve Oral Health:

Surprisingly, licorice root may be beneficial for your dental health too. Research indicates that compounds in licorice root can help reduce the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay. It might also help in preventing and treating canker sores.

A study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that two compounds in licorice root, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were highly effective in killing bacteria responsible for dental cavities and gum disease. These compounds were even effective against bacteria that had become resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

Said to Have Potential Anti-Cancer Properties:

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that licorice root may have anti-cancer properties. Compounds in licorice root have shown potential in inhibiting the growth of certain cancer cells in laboratory studies. 

However, it’s important to note that these studies are preliminary, and licorice root should not be considered a cancer treatment.

A 2016 review published in the journal Pharmacological Research highlighted several studies demonstrating the potential anti-cancer effects of licorice root compounds. These compounds showed promise in inhibiting the growth and spread of various types of cancer cells, including those of breast, liver, and colon cancer. 

However, the authors emphasized the need for further research, particularly clinical trials, to confirm these effects in humans.

May Offer Adrenal Support:

Licorice root has been traditionally used to support adrenal function. It may help in managing stress and fatigue by supporting the body’s production of cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone.”

The glycyrrhizin in licorice root can slow the breakdown of cortisol in the body. This can be beneficial for people with adrenal fatigue, a condition where the adrenal glands struggle to produce enough cortisol. However, it’s crucial to use licorice root carefully for this purpose, as excessive cortisol levels can lead to other health issues.

May Offer Menopausal Symptom Relief:

Some women have found relief from menopausal symptoms by using licorice root. Its phytoestrogen content may help balance hormones and reduce hot flashes, though more research is needed in this area.

A small study published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that licorice root extract was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. After eight weeks of treatment, women taking licorice root extract experienced a significant decrease in hot flash symptoms compared to those taking a placebo.

May Improve Liver Health:

Emerging research suggests that licorice root may have hepatoprotective properties, meaning it could help protect the liver from damage. A 2016 study published in the journal Drug Design, Development and Therapy found that licorice root extract helped protect liver cells from oxidative stress and inflammation in animal models of liver injury.

Cognitive Function:

Some studies have suggested that licorice root may have neuroprotective properties and could potentially benefit cognitive function. A 2012 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that a compound in licorice root called liquiritigenin showed promise in protecting brain cells from damage and improving cognitive function in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Use Licorice Root:

At Moolihai Canada, we offer licorice root in various forms to suit your needs:

Licorice Root Tea:

 Steep our dried licorice root in hot water for a soothing, naturally sweet tea. To prepare, use about 1-2 teaspoons of dried root per cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes, strain, and enjoy. You can drink this tea 1-3 times daily.

Licorice Root Powder: 

Add our powder to smoothies, baked goods, or use it to make your own supplements. A typical dose is 1-2 grams of powder, taken up to three times daily. Remember, a little goes a long way due to its intense sweetness!

Topical Application: 

For skin benefits, you can mix our licorice root powder with a carrier oil or aloe vera gel for topical use. Start with a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon of powder to 2 tablespoons of carrier) and adjust as needed. Always do a patch test first to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions.

Licorice Root Extract: 

This concentrated form is often used in supplements. Follow the dosage instructions on the product label, as potency can vary.

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL): 

This form of licorice has had the glycyrrhizin removed, making it safer for long-term use or for those who need to avoid glycyrrhizin. It’s often used for digestive issues.

Who Should Avoid Licorice Root:

While licorice root offers many potential benefits, it’s important to use it safely. Here are some key points to consider:

The World Health Organization recommends limiting glycyrrhizin intake to no more than 100 mg per day. Our products at Moolihai Canada come with clear dosage instructions. It’s crucial to follow these guidelines to avoid potential side effects.

It’s generally not recommended to use licorice root continuously for more than 4-6 weeks without a break. This is because prolonged use can lead to an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes, particularly potassium levels.

You should avoid licorice if you have any of the below conditions,

   – People with high blood pressure: Licorice can cause sodium retention and potassium loss, which can increase blood pressure.

   – Those with heart or kidney disease: The effects on electrolyte balance can be particularly dangerous for these individuals.

   – Pregnant women: Licorice consumption during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm labor and could potentially affect fetal development.

   – People taking certain medications: Licorice can interact with various drugs, including blood thinners, diuretics, and corticosteroids.

   – Individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions: Licorice has estrogen-like effects and may not be suitable for people with conditions like breast cancer, uterine cancer, or endometriosis.

Side Effects: Excessive consumption of licorice root can lead to:

   – Low potassium levels (hypokalemia)

   – High blood pressure

   – Fluid retention and swelling

   – Headaches

   – Fatigue

   – In rare cases, more severe conditions like myopathy (muscle weakness) or encephalopathy

Licorice root can interact with various medications. Always consult with a healthcare provider before adding licorice root to your regimen, especially if you’re taking:

   – Blood pressure medications

   – Diuretics

   – Blood thinners like warfarin

   – Corticosteroids

   – Estrogen-based medications, including birth control pills

   – Certain diabetes medications

Some people may be more sensitive to the effects of licorice root than others. It’s always best to start with a small amount and gradually increase if no adverse effects are observed.

Moolihai Canada Licorice Root Quality:

At Moolihai Canada, we prioritize the quality and purity of our licorice root products. However, when purchasing licorice root from any source, it’s important to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product free from contaminants or additives.

Licorice Root in Modern Research:

The potential of licorice root continues to be explored in modern scientific research. Here are some areas where licorice root is being studied:

Viral Infections: 

Some studies are investigating the antiviral properties of licorice root compounds against viruses like hepatitis C and influenza.

Metabolic Disorders: 

Researchers are exploring the potential of licorice root compounds in managing metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity.

Inflammation and Autoimmune Disorders: 

The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root are being studied for their potential in managing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Oral Health: 

Ongoing research is examining the use of licorice root compounds in dental products for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Neurodegenerative Diseases: 

Some preliminary studies are looking at the neuroprotective effects of licorice root compounds in conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

While these areas of research are promising, it’s important to remember that many of these studies are still in early stages, and more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.

Licorice root is a fascinating herb with a wide range of potential health benefits. From supporting digestive and respiratory health to potentially aiding in skin conditions and oral health, this sweet root has much to offer. 

Its long history of use in traditional medicine systems around the world is a testament to its potent properties.

At Moolihai Canada, we’re proud to provide high-quality licorice root products to help you explore these benefits safely. Our commitment to purity and quality ensures that you’re getting the best possible licorice root for your needs, whether you’re using it as a tea, a powder, or in other forms.

Remember, while licorice root can be a valuable addition to your health routine, it’s not suitable for everyone. Always use it responsibly, follow recommended dosages, and consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medications. The power of licorice root lies not just in its potential benefits, but in using it wisely and safely.

We hope this comprehensive guide has given you a thorough understanding of licorice root and its potential. Whether you’re steeping our licorice root for a comforting tea, adding our powder to your favorite recipes, or exploring its topical applications, we’re excited for you to experience the wonders of this ancient herb.

As research continues to uncover new potential benefits of licorice root, we at Moolihai Canada remain committed to staying at the forefront of these developments. We’ll continue to provide you with the highest quality licorice root products and the most up-to-date information on their use and benefits.

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