LATIN NAME: Glycyrrhiza glabra
COMMON NAMES: Liquorice (British English) or licorice (American English)
ORIGIN: native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, such as India
DISTRIBUTION AREA: It grows wild in France, Italy, Southeast Europe (including Ukraine and Moldova), in North Africa (mainly in Libya), Western and Central Asia, occurs in the southern regions of the European part, Western Siberia and the North Caucasus.
HABITAT: It prefers sandy and alkaline soils, as well as hard black earth clay soils.
BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Rhizome is thick, multi-headed, and woody. There are several stems, which are erect, simple or unbranched. Leaves are imparipinnate, 5-20 cm long. Flowers are 8-12 mm in diameter; corolla is whitish-violet, irregular, papillonaseus. The fruit is a straight or curved brown bean with 2-6 seeds. The seeds are kidney-shaped, shiny, greenish-gray or brownish. The plant blossoms from June to August. Fruits ripen in August - September.
Licorice roots contain:
- polysaccharides, fatty acids (3-4%)
- mono- and disaccharides (up to 20%)
- proteins, tannins (8.3-14.2%)
- pectins (4-6%)
- resinous and bitter agents (2-4% each)
- flavonoids (3-4%)
- Essential oils (alcohols and their derivatives, aldehydes, ketones, terpenoids, aromatic compounds)
- organic acids (fumaric, tartaric, succinic, citric, malic)
- phenolic carboxylic acids (salicylic, sinomic, ferulic)
- triterpene saponins
- vitamins A, B, E, K, PP, C, D
- minerals (zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, sodium)
The top of the licorice includes:
- tannic compounds (5.5%)
- carbohydrates (2%)
- fatty acids (6%)
- coumarins (1.9-2.4%)
- essential oils (0.02%)
- organic acids (up to 2.5%)
- flavonoids (kaempferol, isokvetsitrin, quercetin)
- vitamins A, C, E
- minerals (selenium, copper, phosphorus)
Healing properties of licorice:
- Licorice has anti-inflammatory effect. Helps with fever, enhances the therapeutic effect of drugs. Eliminates inflammatory reactions in the bladder, kidneys.
- It favorably affects the respiratory system; stimulates the release of mucus, promotes the excretion of sputum and germs from the bronchi. Licorice is used for laryngitis to restore the voice and when having cough developed from tuberculosis, tonsillitis, pneumonia.
- Has an antispasmodic effect. It supports the work of the heart, eliminates spasms of smooth muscles, and helps with thyroid diseases and low blood pressure.
- Normalizes water-salt metabolism, increases the resistance of the body to a lack of oxygen, normalizes the cycle and stops painful premenstrual sensations in women.
- The licorice root is the antidote. The plant contains glycyrrhizin, a neutralizing agent for toxins.
- It restores the pancreas, increases the production of its own insulin. In addition, licorice prevents atherosclerosis, normalizes the level of sugar, the work of the adrenal glands.
- The plant suppresses the growth of malignant cells; is used in the treatment for prostate adenoma and cancer.
- It has wound-healing, enveloping actions. It is used as a mild laxative, as a remedy for gastric ulcer and gastritis.
- Improves skin condition; is used to treat allergies, accompanied by peeling of the dermis: urticaria, dermatitis, psoriasis, and lupus.
- It shows the properties of antidepressant, reduces fatigue, and raises the tone of the central nervous system.
- Licorice is used to restore the mobility of joints when having arthritis, and rheumatism.
- The plant improves the state of the body after radiation damage.
- It prevents heartburn, improves digestion of food, and regulates the secretion of gastric juice.
- Licorice prevents cirrhosis of the liver.
- The plant strengthens immunity.
INDICATIONS FOR USE
- Diabetes mellitus
- Problems with digestion, joints
- Wounds after trauma, ulcers, inflammation in the oral cavity
- Violation of water-salt metabolism
- Weak immunity
- Problems with the menstrual cycle
- Irregular stool
- Diseases of the upper respiratory tract, thyroid, heart, liver, bladder, kidney
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
- high blood pressure
- low potassium levels
- occasionally brain damage
- absence of a menstrual period
- water and sodium retention
- decreased sexual interest
Don’t take licorice in the following situations:
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding
- Heart disease
- Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids
- High blood pressure
- A muscle condition caused by nerve problems (hypertonia)
- Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia)
- Kidney disease
- Sexual problems in men
Major Interaction with Warfarin (Coumadin):
Warfarin (Coumadin) is taken to treat blood clots and/or to prevent new clots from forming in your body. Warfarin (Coumadin) is split in order to leave the body. Licorice can enlarge the splitting and lessen the efficacy of warfarin (Coumadin). Lowering the power of warfarin (Coumadin) can strengthen the chance of blood clotting. Observe your blood vigilantly. Your dosage of warfarin (Coumadin) can need to be altered.
Moderate Interaction with Digoxin (Lanoxin):
Huge doses of licorice can lower potassium levels in the organism. Reduced potassium levels might strengthen the undesirable effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).
Moderate Interaction with Estrogens:
Licorice appears to alter hormone rates in the organism. Simultaneous consumption of licorice and such estrogen pills as conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others can lessen the effectiveness of estrogen pills.
Moderate Interaction with Ethacrynic Acid (Edecrin):
Licorice, as well as Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), has an effect of removing potassium from the body. Parallel using of licorice and Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) can be the reason of excessively low rate of potassium.
Moderate Interaction with Furosemide (Lasix):
Licorice, as well as Furosemide (Lasix), has an effect of removing potassium from the body. Contemporary taking of licorice and furosemide can be the reason of excessively low rate of potassium.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) substrates):
Such medications as ketamine (Ketalar), phenobarbital, orphenadrine (Norflex), secobarbital (Seconal), dexamethasone (Decadron), and others are altered and destroyed by the liver. Licorice can lessen the process of breaking some medications down by the liver. Concurrent consumption of licorice and listed medications can intensify the effectiveness as well as side effects of these medications. Before taking licorice be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates):
Such medications as celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), and warfarin (Coumadin) are altered and destroyed by the liver. Licorice can enlarge the speed of breaking of some medications. Parallel taking licorice and listed medications can lessen the efficacy of the medications. Before taking garlic be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates):
Such medications as lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others are altered and destroyed by the liver. Licorice can enlarge the speed of breaking of some medications. Parallel taking of licorice and listed medications can lessen the efficacy of the medications. Before taking licorice, be sure to consult a doctor if you take any medications which are changed by the liver.
Moderate Interaction with Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs):
Huge doses of licorice appear to raise blood pressure. Therefore licorice can lessen the efficacy of such medications for high blood pressure as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Moderate Interaction with Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids):
Some medications for inflammation as well as licorice can lower potassium in the organism. Simultaneous consumption of licorice and some medications such as dexamethasone (Decadron), hydrocortisone (Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone), and others can be the reason of excessively low rate of potassium.
Moderate Interaction with Water pills (Diuretic drugs):
Huge doses of licorice as well as "Water pills" might lower potassium rates in the organism. Simultaneous consumption of licorice and some diuretic drugs as chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDIURIL, Microzide), and others can be the reason of excessively low rate of potassium.
HEALTH RECIPES WITH LICORICE
Infusion for ulcers, gastritis: Add 10 gr of dried licorice root to 500 ml of boiling water, infuse for 8 hours, then strain. Take 35 drops 3 times a day.
Decoction for bronchial asthma: Simmer 30 gr of licorice in 500 ml of water for 10 minutes. Then cool it and strain. Take 15 ml 4 times a day.
Licorice tincture: Pour 500 ml of vodka over 100 gr of dried, crushed licorice root. Put the mixture in a dark place for 15 days, then strain. Take 35-40 drops for no more than 10 days.
“Licorice root has been used for medical purposes in many cultures for thousands of years”
J. Kavin Kelp
*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.