Licorice root has sweet taste thanks to glycyrrhizin, a compound. Glycyrrhizin is the active ingredient of this herb. The herb is 50 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) so it is also recognized as sweet root. It is a moist and soothing herb with no aroma. It is packed with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-tumor, antimicrobial and expectorant properties. It also has various healthy compounds like volatile oils, anethole, flavonoids, asparagine, coumarins, glycosides, plant sterols, glycyrrhizic acid and chalcones. Licorice root is available in the market in different forms such as powder, dried, tablet, liquid extract and capsule form.
Health Benefits of Licorice root
Glycyrrhizic acid in this helps to alleviate depression and anxiety. It promotes the function of adrenal gland which is responsible for release of the hormones like cortisol. Licorice root replaces the depleted cortisol levels in the body and thereby helps the body to fight nervousness, depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue caused by stress. According to a study, glycyrrhizic acid hinders the enzyme that alters cortisol to cortisone so the levels of cortisol increase. The asparagine in the herb helps the central nervous system to sustain its equilibrium. Consuming one cup of Licorice tea two times a day may help you to get rid of depression.
High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Licorice root enhances the bile acid flow which is accountable for cholesterol metabolism and removal of excess cholesterol in the body. The herb also prevents the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and provides healthy functioning of the heart. Take modest doses (100 mg a day) of licorice root supplements daily to prevent heart diseases and lowers the high cholesterol levels in the body.
The phytoestrogenic and antioxidant activity of the herb is very help in dealing with the symptoms of menopause. Licorice root treats hot flashes as helpful as hormone replacement therapy in women suffering from menopause. The estrogen-like properties of herb treat hormonal imbalances caused by menopause. The herb is packed with antioxidants which boost immunity levels as well as provides relief from muscle and joint aches that are experienced during menopause. Women suffering from menopause can drink licorice tea or take one licorice root capsules daily to maintain the hormone production.
PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and Menstrual Cramps
Licorice root also helps to treat PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and a mild estrogenic activity. The phytoestrogens in the herb have a mild estrogenic effect which makes the herb useful for easing breast tenderness, irritability and bloating associated with PMS. To get relief from menstrual cramps and the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome, consume licorice tea three days before the estimated menstruation time.
Licorice root salve has been used to treat psoriasis, dry & itchy skin, skin rashes, dermatitis and eczema. The glycyrrhizin in the herb works like cortocosteroid when you apply it on the skin topically. According to clinical studies, anti-inflammatory and demulcent agents found in licorice root can help to decrease the symptoms of skin disorders. You can use a cream that contains 2% licorice onto the affected area 2 to 3 times a day. You can also make licorice root salve at home. To make it, add the dried herb (2 Tbsp.) in 6 cups of boiling water and cover the pan. Also, decrease the heat and let it to boil for around 40 minutes. Add the concoction to a cold compress and apply to affected area.
Sore Throat and Cough
Most of the commercial cough syrups have licorice root extract as an ingredient. People suffering from bad cough and cold can get relief from dry cough, sore throat, bronchitis and asthma with this herb. The glycosides found in herb have expectorant activity. The expectorant helps to break-up the built-up phlegm which makes it easy to cough out. The anti-inflammatory demulcent and antiviral properties of herb calm down bronchial spasms, lubricate the irritated & swollen respiratory tract and sore throat as well as fight against viral flu and asthma. Drink licorice root tea about 2 to 3 times a day to relieve bad cough, sore throat, bronchitis and cold. If you are having sore throat, you can suck or chew raw licorice root.
Stomach and Gastric Problems
Licorice root is often used for treating stomach ulcers, heartburn, upset stomach, constipation and acid reflux. The flavonoids and chalcones in the herb help in decreasing the irritation and the swelling of the mucus lining of the stomach and intestinal tract. The herb helps the people with constipation by promoting normal bowel movement. It prevents the chemicals break down and thereby prevents ulcers. Even, the German Commission E has approved licorice root for ulcers. It also promotes good digestion as well as alleviates the symptoms associated with acid reflux and heart burn. Simple remedy for stomach problems is to consume licorice root tea. You can drink it 2 to 3 times daily.
Other Benefits of Licorice root
It provides relief from headaches, fever and any kind of severe pain.
The herb helps to eliminate bad breath by just chewing/sucking it.
It decreases the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Licorice is said to help reducing weight and treating diabetes.