Licorice root, also known as licorice, liquorice, sweet root, gan zao is a herb used extensively for therapeutic purpose throughout the world. It is used for many ailments such as asthma, athlete's foot, baldness, body odor, bronchitis, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, cold and flu, cough, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement, arthritis indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Licorice Root Supplements Benefits
- It is an effective anti-ulcer medication.
- Supports liver functions and lowers cholesterol level.
- The isomers of glycyrrhetinic acid present in licorice root have an anti-inflammatory function. It speeds up wound healing.
- It has an anti-tumor action.
- It has a strong estrogenic effect. Hence, it is used for the treatment of menstrual problems.
- Increases uterine development and reduces aspirin absorption and protects gastric mucosa against aspirin toxicity.
- The injectable form of licorice extract is proved to be effective in the treatment of hepatitis C.
- Topical application of licorice gel helps in relieving symptoms of itching, swelling, and redness.
- Licorice supplementation destroys certain bacteria and the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections.
- Reduces body fat.
- By boosting the levels of interferon in the body licorice supports immune system.
Licorice Root Supplement Side effects
The following points should be kept in mind before starting with licorice supplementation.
- Long term use of licorice supplements should be avoided, because of the risk of potentially dangerous side effects. It is always better to seek guidance from a doctor.
- Over dose can cause hyper tension and sodium retention. It may alter the level of cortisol in the body.
- Licorice with glycyrrhizin causes serious side effects. It may lead to pseudoaldosteronism, which makes a person overly sensitive to the hormone in the adrenal cortex, which may in turn lead to headaches, water retention, fatigue, high blood pressure, and even heart attacks. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice which doesn’t have glycyrrhizin can be used instead.
- It is better for people with heart disease or high blood pressure to consult a doctor before starting licorice supplementation.
- As it could increase the risk of preterm labor, pregnant women should avoid licorice supplementation.
Licorice Root Supplement Dosage
Licorice root is available as powder, capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. Older children suffering from sore throat are advised to chew a piece of licorice root or drink licorice tea. The dosage will vary according to the weight. For children it is better not to take licorice tea for more than a day without consulting a doctor. The dosage of licorice in the form of dried root is 1 to 5 g thrice a day. 250 to 500 mg of standardized extract that contains 20% glycyrrhizinic acid can be used 3 times a day. For peptic ulcer 0.4 to 1.6 g deglycyrrhizinated licorice is prescribed thrice a day.