Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has been used in food and as medicine for thousands of years. Also known as \"sweet root,\" licorice root contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to liver disease. It acts as a demulcent, a soothing, coating agent, and as an expectorant, meaning it helps get rid of phlegm. It is still used today for several conditions, although not all of its uses are supported by scientific evidence.
Licorice that has the active ingredient of glycyrrhiza can have serious side effects. Another type of licorice, called DGL or deglycyrrhizinated licorice, does not seem to have the same side effects and is sometimes used to treat peptic ulcers, canker sores, and reflux (GERD). Practitioners still sometimes suggest whole licorice for cough, asthma, and other breathing problems. Topical preparations are used for eczema and other skin problems.
Licorice grows wild in some parts of Europe and Asia. A perennial that grows 3 to 7 feet high, licorice has an extensive branching root system. The roots are straight pieces of wrinkled, fibrous wood, which are long and cylindrical (round) and grow horizontally underground. Licorice roots are brown on the outside and yellow on the inside. Licorice supplements are made from the roots and underground stems of the plant.
One animal study found that aspirin coated with licorice reduced the number of ulcers in rats by 50%. (High doses of aspirin often cause ulcers in rats.) In one study, licorice root fluid extract was used to treat 100 people with stomach ulcers, 86 of whom had not improved with conventional medication, for 6 weeks. Ulcers disappeared in 22 people; 90% of participants got better. Other studies have found that DGL had no effect on peptic ulcers in humans.
Preliminary studies suggest that a specific herbal formula containing licorice, called Iberogast or STW 5, may help relieve symptoms of indigestion or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This herbal formula also contains peppermint and chamomile, two herbs often used for indigestion.
One study found that a preparation of licorice may reduce body fat. Fifteen people of normal weight consumed 3.5 g of licorice each day for 2 months. Body fat was measured before and after treatment. Licorice appeared to reduce body fat mass and to suppress the hormone aldosterone; however, the people in the study retained more water.
Another study found that a topical preparation of glycyrrhetinic acid (a component of licorice) reduced the thickness of fat on the thigh in human subjects. A third study found that people who took 900 mg of licorice flavonoid oil daily for 8 weeks experienced reductions in body fat, body weight, body mass index, and LDL cholesterol levels. More studies are needed to say if licorice really helps reduce fat. In addition, taking licorice long term has a number of health risks.
People who regularly take large amounts of licorice, more than 20 g/day, may raise blood levels of the hormone aldosterone, which can cause serious side effects, including headache, high blood pressure, and heart problems. For people who already have high blood pressure or heart or kidney disease, as little as 5 g/day can cause these side effects. More research is needed.
Licorice products are made from peeled and unpeeled, dried root. There are powdered and finely cut root preparations made for teas, tablets, and capsules, as well as liquid extracts. Some licorice extracts do not contain glycyrrhizin. These extracts are known as deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), and do not seem to have the undesired side effects of other forms of licorice. Some studies suggest DGL may be better for stomach or duodenal ulcers. DGL may offer protection against ulcer formation when taken with aspirin.
PediatricOlder children who have a sore throat can chew a piece of licorice root or drink licorice tea. Ask your doctor to help you determine the right dose for your child. DO NOT give a child licorice tea for more than a day without talking to your doctor. Never give licorice tea to an infant or toddler.
Although the dangerous effects mostly happen with high doses of licorice or glycyrrhizin, smaller amounts of licorice may cause side effects. Some people have muscle pain or numbness in the arms and legs. To be safe, ask your provider to monitor your use of licorice.
ACE inhibitors and diuretics. If you are taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or diuretics for high blood pressure, you should not use licorice products. Licorice could cause these medications to not work as well, or could make side effects worse, including a build up of potassium in the body. ACE inhibitors include:
Armanini D, Nacamulli D, Francini-Pesenti F, Battagin G, Ragazzi E, Fiore C. Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active principle of licorice, can reduce the thickness of subcutaneous thigh fat through topical application. Steroids. 2005 Jul;70(8):538-42.
Fuhrman B, Volkova N, Kaplan M, et al. Antiatherosclerotic effects of licorice extract supplementation on hypercholesterolemic patients: increased resistance of LDL to atherogenic modifications, reduced plasma lipid levels, and decreased systolic blood pressure. Nutrition. 2002;18(3):268-73.
Kamisoyama H, Honda K, Tominaga Y, Yokota S, Hasegawa S. Investigation of the anti-obesity action of licorice flavonoid oil in diet-induced obese rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Dec;72(12):3225-31.
Menati L, Khaleghinezhad K, Tadayon M, Siahpoosh A. Evaluation of contextual and demographic factors on licorice effects on reducing hot flashes in postmenopause women. Health Care Women Int. 2014;35(1):87-99.
Ruetzler K, Fleck M, Nabecker S, et al. A randomized, double-blind comparison of licorice versus sugar-water gargle for the prevention of postoperative sore throat and postextubation coughing. Anesth Analg. 2013;117(3):614-21.
Somjen D, Knoll E, Vaya J, Stern N, Tamir S. Estrogen-like activity of licorice root constituents: glabridin and glabrene, in vascular tissues in vitro and in vivo. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004;91(3):147-55.
Licorice has been extensively researched for its ability to support healthy digestive function. DGL, or deglycyrrhizinated licorice, is a form of licorice root that is known for maintaining and supporting a healthy lining in the stomach and intestines being enriched by biologically active compounds*.
An extract ratio is a measure of an herb's strength or concentration. The ratio shows how much of a raw ingredient is required to make an extract. For example, a 3:1 ratio of deglycyrrizinated licorice (DGL) (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root extract means that it takes 3 pounds of root to make 1 pound of the potent extract.
The active ingredients and the strength of the ingredients have not changed. However, we have made some minor enhancements to the flavor, which are reflected in the changes to the \"other ingredients\" listing. We have also taken steps to ensure that the highest quality DGL raw material is being used; thereby minimizing the amount of color variation. In the past, color variation of the DGL raw material has contributed to slight fluctuations in flavor.While the updated formula may have a slightly milder licorice flavor, it still retains the same potency and efficacy as the original raw material.
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) is a safe and effective licorice extract. It is specially processed to have glycyrrhizin removed to avoid potential side effects such as elevated blood pressure. DGL supports the integrity of the natural mucus lining of the stomach and intestinal wall. It stimulates the protective factors which guard against weaknesses in these linings.
Some evidence suggests taking licorice in supplement form may have estrogen-like effects on female hormone sensitive conditions (breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids) and should not be taken by people with such diseases. It may also worsen hypertonia (a muscle condition caused by nerve disease), potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) or erectile dysfunction. (25)
While some studies have not shown an effect of Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) on peptic ulcers, one study of 100 patients taking DGL for stomach ulcers for 6 weeks resulted in 22 people having full resolution, while 90% of participants improved.
The deglycyrrhizinated form of licorice (DGL) is used to relieve discomfort from chronic indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, and canker sores. Whole licorice extract is beneficial for menstrual and menopausal disorders, as well as inflammatory disorders. Topical whole licorice is useful for herpes, eczema, and psoriasis.
Licorice is available as dried roots, extracts, tinctures, tablets, extracts, and topical preparations. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is available in chewable tablets, wafers, capsules, tea, and powder.
Licorice products that contain glycyrrhizin and whole licorice taken orally may increase the effects of corticosteroids, cause sodium and water retention and increase blood pressure, increase the effect of digitalis preparations, alter the effect of estrogens/progesterone, and decrease the effect of anti-hypertensive medications. Some animal studies have shown licorice decreases the metabolism rate of warfarin, a blood-thinning medication, and it is not advisable to take licorice when on similar medication, or while taking diuretics. 59ce067264