Licorice Root (Mulethi) is an herb that comes from the legume family. We all know that licorice root is used as a flavoring agent in toothpaste, chewing gum, sweets, beverages (like soft drinks & beer), etc.
This herbal root is most commonly found in the areas of Europe, Asia, and the USA. In recent days, licorice (dried root) is used for many medicinal purposes. Do you know that it is one of the most widely consumed across the world to grab its medicinal benefits?
Glycyrrhizin is one of the main constituents of licorice root that gives the root its sweet taste. It has a remarkable list of medicinal uses and might be one of the highest overlooked of all natural treatments.
It works as an effective remedy for treating various health problems like asthma, baldness, fungal or bacterial infections, a microbial infection like virus or yeast, psoriasis, throat problems, arthritis, ulcers, digestive disorders, etc.
The licorice root is packed with a wide range of flavonoids and nutrients along with excellent source of vitamins (B & E) and minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, choline, magnesium, selenium, zinc and silicon, which makes it as a storehouse of many essential phytonutrients that includes thymol, quercetin, beta-carotene, phenol, etc.
It exhibits medicinal properties like an expectorant, anti-inflammatory, laxative, demulcent, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiulcer, antiviral and anti-tumor properties. One can easily find this root in various forms like sticks, powder, dried root, capsule or extract form.
However, the list will go on but here in this article, we are discussing some best health benefits of licorice root. If you’re suffering from diabetes then avoid using this herb why because it is much sweeter than regular table sugar.
Health Benefits of Licorice Root:
Here are some health benefits of licorice root. Let’s have a look at the below mentioned health benefits of licorice root.
1. Digestive Ailments:
Licorice root is an effective remedy for treating digestive disorders like acidity, constipation, stomach ulcers, heartburn, acid reflux, inflammation of the stomach lining, etc. with its laxative and anti-inflammatory effects. It aids in proper digestion and thereby helps to regulate bowel movement.
The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root will help to clear the microbial action and reduce the inflammation in the stomach. Regular usage of licorice will help to protect the stomach’s inner lining from the infection.
In a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, they highlighted the healing effects of the licorice on treating Helicobacter pylori-infected peptic ulcers. Here are few ways of using licorice root for combating digestive ailments.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of licorice root powder in 1 cup of hot water and stir well. Cover it and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain it to drink this tea. Regular intake of this licorice tea for 2 – 3 times a day will help to aid your digestion and clear the digestive related problems.
- Simply take 250 – 500 mg of standardized deglycyrrhizinated licorice for thrice daily after consulting your doctor and done proper health diagnoses.
2. Respiratory Infections:
Respiratory tract infections like cold, cough, sore throat, sinusitis, asthma, etc. can be treated effectively with this herb. The licorice will exhibit antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties will help to reduce the inflammation of the bronchial tubes and calm down the airways.
Regular usage will help to loosen and thins the mucus in the airways to ease your congestion and coughing. It also fights the microbes causing respiratory illness and restricts the overproduction of mucus.
Here are few ways of using licorice for fighting respiratory infections.
- Prepare a licorice tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried licorice root in 1 cup of hot water for 5 – 8 minutes. Strain and drink few cups of licorice root tea while suffering from respiratory problems regularly until you get complete relief from the symptoms.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of licorice powder with some honey to make a fine paste and consume this licorice paste for twice daily for few day till you get rid of the problem.
- To soothe your irritated throat or a sore throat, you have to suck on some licorice candies that help you a lot in providing a soothing effect.
3. Canker Sores:
The anti-inflammatory and mucosa healing properties of licorice root will help to treat canker sores and also fight off the herpes virus to clear the infection completely.
- Take 200 mg of deglycyrrhizinated licorice capsules and chew them 2 – 3 times daily to get faster relief from the canker sores.
- Take few DGL pills and dissolve in water. Stir well and use it to gargle for few seconds. Spit out and repeat the same action for 3 – 4 times daily.
4. Acts as a Liver Protection:
Liver disorders like hepatitis, jaundice, and non – alcoholic fatty liver will be treated by using licorice root. The natural antioxidant property of licorice will protect the liver from the attack of free radicals and other toxic materials and prevent the damage.
The anti-inflammatory property will soothe the inflammation in the liver that caused due to hepatitis. It is also stated that licorice root extract will help in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver in a study published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal.
Have a look at some ways of using licorice root to protect the liver.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon of licorice root in 1 cup of hot water and stir well. Cover and steep for 5 – 8 minutes. Strain and drink this licorice root tea for once daily to promote your liver health. For best results, drink for a week and then take a break for a couple of weeks and again repeat it.
- Take licorice supplement after consulting your doctor to get proper diagnose about your health and also to know the dosage.
5. Weight Loss:
Licorice helps you to combat another serious health problem called obesity or over weight. The flavonoids in this root will help to reduce the excessive accumulation of fat in the body. Many researchers have found that licorice flavonoid oil that helps to reduce the total body fat and visceral fat in the people who are overweight.
In a study, people who took 900 mg of this licorice oil daily for about 8 weeks has observed a significant reduction in their visceral fat area, bad or LDL cholesterol, total body weight, body mass index (BMI) compared to those who took a placebo.
Consuming licorice (or its oil) will help you a lot in preventing and treating obesity but make sure to avoid the licorice candy, as it is fully loaded with sugar and sweetness.
6. Oral Health:
This herb acts as a best remedy for promoting the oral health with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It prevents the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, fights bad breath, reduces plaque and keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Researchers have confirmed that the usage of licorice root extract in the oral care products like mouthwash or toothpaste will help to cure many oral problems.
Have a look at some ways of using licorice root for supporting oral health.
- Take some dried licorice root powder and use it as your toothpowder to brush your teeth.
- Simply use licorice containing toothpaste or mouthwash to maintain proper oral health.
- Use a soft stick of licorice as your toothbrush to brush your teeth daily.
7. Boosts Immune System:
A strong and healthy immune system will play a key role in keeping your body free from viruses, bacteria or other microbes causing infections. Licorice will aid in the production of chemicals like macrophage and lymphocytes which helps to improve the body’s natural defense to fight against the microbes causing infection.
It also contains some powerful antioxidants that help a lot in improving the immunity. All you need is to drink licorice tea or take its supplements to boost your immune system and keep yourself free from health problems.
8. Menopausal Symptoms:
Licorice is another effective remedy that widely used to deal with many problems which are associated with menopause. The main compound in this licorice is the phytoestrogenic will correct the hormonal imbalance in the body and thereby eases the symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, depression, insomnia, mood swings and vaginal dryness.
In addition to this, B vitamins present in licorice helps to regulate the hormones like progesterone and estrogen to help fight against these symptoms. Although more research is needed to show some positive effects of licorice on menopausal symptoms and also consult your doctor for proper dosage of licorice root extract before taking.
9. Fight Arthritis:
Licorice herb has anti-inflammatory and skin soothing property that helps a lot in treating chronic inflammatory problems like arthritis and gout. It acts as non-steroidal inflammatory drugs to soothe the pain and swelling along with reducing the attack and damage of free radicals on the joints and causing pain.
Licorice or roasted licorice extracts are beneficial for treating and reducing the pain & swelling caused by arthritis. Drink a few cups of licorice tea daily to ease your arthritis pain and inflammation. Also, consult your doctor to know the right dosage of licorice supplement.
Depression is one of the major problems that most of us are suffering in these stressful days. Licorice is one best herb that used to treat depression. The glycyrrhizin content in licorice root will help to improve the functioning of the adrenal glands (stress hormones) and thereby fight depression and nervousness.
It contains some essential minerals like calcium, beta-carotene, and magnesium along with flavonoids will help to lift depression. Do you know that this licorice will help in combating pre and postmenopausal depression in women and thereby treat mild to moderated depression? Yes, it inhibits serotonin re uptakes and prevent depression caused by pre and post menopausal women.
Drink licorice tea or take its supplements to fight depression but make sure to consult your doctor if you’re suffering from severe forms of depression.
11. Cardiovascular Disease and High Cholesterol:
Licorice root helps to control the cholesterol ranges by simply enhancing the body’s flow of bile. The bile acid will help to eliminate the excessive cholesterol in the body. It has an antioxidant property that helps to enhance capillary health and hinder the growth of arterial plaque.
12. Menstrual and PMS Cramps:
The antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and a moderate estrogenic action in licorice will help you in assisting with PMS symptoms like menstrual cramps, breast tenderness, bloating, mood swings and nausea. Consuming licorice root as a tea each day for 3 – 4 days will help to alleviate the PMS symptoms.
13. Herpes and Shingles:
The licorice root exhibits antiviral and antimicrobial action that helps to suppress the virus causing herpes and shingles. The simplest way to treat this herpes and shingles is to ingest a capsule of this root extract for twice daily (or) simply use a salve made of the same extract on the affected areas for about 4 – 5 times daily till you get rid of the problem.
Tips and Warnings:
- If you’re suffering from diabetes, low potassium levels, heart or kidney problems then avoid taking this herb, as it will worsen your problem.
- This is not suitable for pregnant women and infants. So, avoid giving them this herb for treating any of the above problems.
- Make sure to consult your healthcare provider if you’re on any medications especially if taking diuretics or anti-hypertensive drugs.
- Never ever take large amounts of this licorice herb for a longer time (more than 2 weeks) why because it is harmful to the body and causes some side effects like metabolism abnormalities, high blood pressure, cataracts, hypokalemia, hypertension, and fluid retention.
- Make use of this herb as a poultice and salves for treating various skin problems like psoriasis, skin rashes, eczema, itchy and dry skin. It has demulcent and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the signs of atopic dermatitis. Apply a salve (licorice root) on the affected area for 2 – 3 times daily.
- Remember that people who are allergic to Fabaceae (like pea, legumes, pulse or bean) will be allergic to licorice root why because this herb is also a member of this Fabaceae family.
- In some cases, licorice root is used as an alternative to St. John’s Wort for treating many health or skin problems.
Make sure to consult your doctor before using this herb as your medical aid to have proper health diagnose and to know the exact dosage and its side effects on your health.
Hope you’ll include licorice in your diet to grab these benefits. Do you know any other health benefits of licorice root? Then share your experience with us in the below comments box.