What are the advantages and disadvantages of licorice root?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of licorice root?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of licorice root?

liquorice comes from western Asia and southern Europe and has long been used to treat various diseases and to flavor sweets, drinks and medicines.
Despite this history, only a few of its uses are supported by scientific research. In addition, licorice can pose various health risks.

How do we use liquorice root?

The medicinal use of licorice comes from ancient Egypt, where the root became a sweet drink for the pharaohs.

It has also been used in traditional Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Greek medicines to relieve stomach upset, reduce inflammation, and treat upper respiratory problems.

Contemporary use

Many people today use licorice root to treat diseases such as heartburn, acid reflux, hot flashes, coughs, and bacterial and viral infections. It is regularly available in the form of a capsule or a liquid supplement.

In addition, licorice tea is said to relieve sore throat, while topical gels are said to treat skin conditions such as acne or eczema.

In addition, licorice is used to flavor certain foods and beverages.

Plant substances

Though it contains hundreds of phytonutrients, glycyrrhizin is the main active ingredient in the licorice root.

Glycyrrhizin is responsible for the sweet taste of the root as well as for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

However, glycyrrhizin is also associated with many side effects of licorice root. As a result, some products use deglycyrrhizinized licorice (DGL) from which glycyrrhizin has been removed.

Possible benefits

Current research results are promising for some of the medical uses of licorice root.

It can help skin conditions.

The licorice root contains over 300 compounds, some of which have strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral effects.

the licorice root extract is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including acne and eczema.

In a two-week study in 60 adults, the use of a topical gel with licorice root extract significantly improved eczema.

Although topical licorice gels have also been used to treat acne, research on their effectiveness has been mixed and quite limited.

It can reduce acid reflux and indigestion.

The licorice root extract is often used to relieve indigestion such as acid reflux, upset stomach, and heartburn.

In a 30-day study of 50 adults with indigestion, taking a 75 mg licorice capsule twice daily resulted in a significant improvement in symptoms compared to placebo.

Licorice root extract can also relieve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including acid reflux and heartburn.

study in 58 adults with GERD found that daily use of licorice root was more effective in relieving symptoms than commonly used antacids for 2 years.
Although these results are promising, further human studies are needed.

Can help treat stomach ulcers

Stomach ulcers are painful sores that develop in the stomach, in the lower esophagus, or in the small intestine. They are usually caused by inflammation from the H. pylori bacteria.

Licorice root extract and its glycyrrhizin can help treat ulcers.

A study in mice found that doses of licorice extract of 91 mg per pound (200 mg per kg) body weight were better protected against these ulcers than omeprazole, a common medication for stomach ulcers.

Although more research is needed in humans, a two-week study in 120 adults showed that eating licorice extract in addition to standard treatment significantly reduced the presence of H. pylori.

May have anti-cancer properties

Due to its content of many plant substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, licorice root extract has been examined for its protective effect against certain types of cancer.

Particularly, licorice extract and the compounds have been connected to slowing or protecting against cell growth in pores and skin, breast, colon, and prostatic cancer.

Because research is limited to test tubes and animals, their effects on human cancers are unknown.

However, licorice root extract can help treat oral mucositis, a very painful mustache that people with cancer sometimes experience as a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

A two-week study of 60 adults with head and neck cancer found that a topical licorice film was as effective as the standard oral mucositis treatment.

It can relieve upper respiratory conditions.

Licorice root extract and tea can affect the upper respiratory tract due to their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

Animal studies, in particular, conclude that licorice root glycyrrhizin extract helps alleviate asthma, especially when added to modern asthma treatments.
Although limited human research shows similar results, more stringent long-term studies are needed.

In addition, limited studies on test tubes and humans suggest that tea and licorice root extract can protect against sore throats and prevent sore throats after surgery.

However, further research is needed.

Can protect from cavities

Licorice root can help protect against bacteria that create voids.
A three-week study provided 66 preschool children with sugar-free lollipops containing 15 mg of licorice root twice a day during the school week.

Eating pacifiers has significantly reduced the number of Streptococcus mutans bacteria that are the main cause of cavities.

Test tube studies also show that licorice root extract provides effective protection against bacteria commonly associated with tooth decay and tooth decay.

However, more research is needed on the optimal dosage and shape of the licorice root.

Other potential benefits

The licorice root extract has several other potential benefits. Can:

• It helps diabetes. In a 60-day rat study, taking licorice root extract daily resulted in a significant improvement in blood sugar and kidney health. This effect has not been confirmed in humans.

• Reduces menopause symptoms. The licorice root extract has been suggested for the treatment of hot flashes during menopause. However, proof of its effectiveness for this purpose is limited.

• Stimulates weight loss. Some studies show that licorice root extract lowers the Body Mass Index (BMI) and promotes weight loss. However, other studies have found no effects on weight.

• Helps treat hepatitis C. A test-tube study found that adding glycyrrhizin to standard hepatitis C treatment significantly reduced the spread of the virus. Although promising, these results have not been confirmed in humans.


Licorice root can have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects.

Preliminary research suggests that it can relieve upper respiratory infections, treat ulcers, and aid digestion, among other things.

Possible side effects and precautions

Licorice root is generally recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe for use in food.

However, the FDA is not currently evaluating or verifying supplements to determine the purity, effectiveness, or accuracy of the labeling of ingredients.

In addition, the short-term use of licorice root additives and teas is considered largely safe. However, high doses can cause side effects and people with certain health conditions may want to avoid them.

Overdose of licorice root

Chronic use and large doses of licorice root products can cause glycyrrhizin to build up in your body.

Elevated glycyrrhizin levels have been shown to cause an abnormal increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

As a result, large and chronic doses of licorice root products can trigger several dangerous symptoms, including:

• low potassium levels
• High blood pressure
• muscle weakness
• abnormal heart rhythms

Although rare, licorice poisoning can occur. It can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, or excessive accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema).

Pregnancy and breastfeeding period.

Consuming large amounts of licorice and especially glycyrrhizin during pregnancy can affect your baby's brain development.

In one study, children of mothers who ate large amounts of licorice products containing glycyrrhizin during pregnancy had more frequent brain problems later in life.

Therefore, pregnant women should avoid licorice supplements and limit the consumption of licorice in foods and beverages.

Due to the lack of research, children and breastfeeding women should also avoid licorice products.

Interaction with other drugs

Licorice root has been shown to interact with a variety of medications, including:

• Medicines for high blood pressure
• anticoagulants
• Cholesterol-lowering drugs, including statins
• diuretics
• estrogen-based contraceptives
• nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

People who take any of these drugs should avoid licorice root products unless directed to do so by their doctor.


Chronic use and large doses of licorice root can cause serious fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

Children, pregnant and lactating women, and people with kidney disease, heart disease, or high blood pressure should avoid licorice products.

Dosage and forms of licorice root

Being an extract, licorice root get comes in a range of forms, including pills, powders, tinctures, topical gel, and teas. The root itself can also be bought fresh or dried.

There are currently no standard dosage recommendations. Nevertheless, the World Health Business (WHO) and the Euro Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) recommend limiting the particular intake of glycyrrhizin into a maximum of 100 magnesium each day.

Especially those who eat large amounts of licorice products can get more than this amount.

In addition, since the products do not always show the amount of glycyrrhizin, it can be difficult to identify a safe amount.

It is therefore important to discuss a safe and effective dose with your doctor.

Another option is to look for powders or capsules made from deglycyrhizinated licorice (DGL).

These supplements do not contain glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for most of the side effects of licorice.

 However, since this connection also has many advantages, it is not clear whether DGL products have the same positive effects on health.


You can consume licorice root in the form of tea, tincture, powder, or supplements. That is also used topically as a gel.

Although there is no standard dose for licorice root, you should limit your total glycyrrhizin intake to no more than 100 grams per day.

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