Licorice is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean that’s been used to help with numerous ailments for centuries. It’s technically a legume that has an extract that is many times sweeter than sugar. That’s why the first order was to transform it into candy.
But the extract of licorice root can do so much more than satisfy a sweet tooth. It helps contain coughs and colds, eases gastrointestinal issues, heartburn, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, PMS, menopausal and works as an effective pain reliever. It can also help discouraging artery plaque formation and contribute to a healthy heart.
There are four main types of compounds found in licorice root:
- Flavonoids that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Polyphenols that are anti-inflammatory and antibiotic.
- Triterpenoids that are anti-inflammatory and have an effect on metabolism and also functions as a phytoestrogen.
- Stilbenoids that are a powerful antioxidant and antitoxin.
The medicinal benefits of licorice root extract include:
- An effective natural relief of heartburn, acid reflux, nausea, indigestion and stomach pain. Licorice is also a natural laxative.
- A natural remedy for ulcers and leaky gut syndrome. It also works as a staph infection and candida.
- It helps the body more efficiently regulate cortisol, reducing adrenal fatigue and helps to increase energy, ease stress and reduce the symptoms of ailments sensitive to cortisol levels, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
- Treats diseases like hepatitis C, herpes, HIV and influenza. The triterpenoid content is an antiviral, boosting immune system and helps deplete free-radicals.
- It helps a sore throat or cough and is an effective expectorant, helping to loosen and expel mucus. It contains soothing demulcent with anti-inflammatory properties that can bring relief for sore throat.
- It has an estrogen-like effect in women, useful for menstrual and fertility-related concerns, including as a natural remedy for PMS and a treatment of menopause.
- It’s an antispasmodic for abdominal and muscle cramps. Topically, licorice can alleviate skin conditions as it acts as a hydrocortisone. Its anti-inflammatory properties also act as a natural remedy for joint pain.
It’s very important that licorice root extract not be overused. It shouldn’t be taken long term without taking a break periodically. The glycyrrhizin in licorice root has been known to increase blood pressure and reduce potassium levels. People with high blood pressure, liver and kidney issues and pregnant women can opt for deglycyrrhized licorice (DGL) for safer results.
Licorice extract shouldn’t be taken longer than four weeks at a time. As with any herbal supplement, it’s best to work with your doctor to create a holistic approach to address any of the issues noted above.