Licorice

Licorice
Mulethi” or “Licorice” also known as the “Sweet wood” is an effective and potent medicinal herb which is also used as a flavoring agent. Licorice can be used as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, anti-ulcer, antitussive, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, skin whitening and anti-diuretic agent. Licorice helps in case of food poisoning, heartburn, stomach ulcers, cough and bronchitis[2].

What are the synonyms of Licorice?

Glycyrrhiza glabra, Mulethi, Mulathi, Muleti, Jethimadhu, Jethimadh, Yastimadhuka, Yastika, Madhuka, Madhuyasti, Yastyahva, Jesthimadhu, Yeshtmadhu, Yashtimadhu, Jethimadha, Jethimard, Jestamadu, Jyeshtamadhu, Atimadhura, Multhi, Irattimadhuram, Jatimadhu, Jastimadhu, Athimadhuram, Atimadhuramu, Asl-us-sus

What is the source of Licorice?

Plant Based

Benefits of Licorice

What are the benefits of Licorice for Heartburn?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice is effective in managing functional dyspepsia and associated symptoms like upper abdominal fullness, epigastric pain, belching, bloating, early satiety, nausea, vomiting, regurgitation, heartburn, and loss of appetite[17].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice is useful for heartburn and reduces inflammation in the stomach due to its Sita (cold) potency.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Stomach ulcers?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice root extract might help in managing stomach ulcers. Glycyrrhetinic acid in Licorice extract has strong anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits the activity of inflammatory mediators to reduce pain and inflammation in the stomach[2].
Tip:
1. Take 1 teaspoonful of Licorice powder
2. Consume thrice a day with 1 cup milk.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice is useful in stomach ulcer due to its Sita (cold) potency. It produces a thick mucus lining which protects the stomach due to its Ropan (healing) nature.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Cough?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice is useful in managing sore throat, cough and excessive production of mucus in the respiratory tract. It also helps loosen mucus and in coughing it out[2].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice is good for sore throat, throat irritation, cough and bronchitis due to its Ropan (healing) and expectorant properties.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Tuberculosis (TB)?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might serve as an alternate therapy in managing tuberculosis due to its antimicrobial activity against the gram positive and gram negative bacteria[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps boost immunity and control bacterial infections in the lungs of patients with tuberculosis due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) and Ropan (healing) properties.

What are the benefits of Licorice for High cholesterol?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps in controlling high cholesterol and reduces the risk of plaque formation due to its Vata and Pitta balancing properties.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Irritable bowel syndrome?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice reduces inflammation and speeds up the healing process in case of IBS due to its Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) nature.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Arthritis?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice can help manage rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory property. It inhibits the activity of inflammatory mediators and manages pain and inflammation in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis[7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, arthritis is called Sandhivata in which an aggravated Vata causes pain and swelling in the joints. Licorice balances Vata due to its Sita (cold) potency and gives relief in case of arthritis.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Infections?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps to fight infections by boosting the immunity due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) property.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Infertility?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps improve the sperm count and manage male infertility due to its good Vajikarana (aphrodisiac) and Rasayana (rejuvenating) properties.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Malaria?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might act as a good anti-malarial agent due to the presence of Licochalcone A[2].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps to fight against malaria by boosting the immunity due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) property.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Prostate cancer?

scientific
Scientific View
Glycyrrhizin in Licorice might act as a therapeutic agent against prostate cancer. Glycyrrhizin inhibits the cell multiplication of prostate cancer cells by inducing apoptosis. Therefore, Licorice is known to have anti-tumorigenic activity against prostate cancer cells[18].

What are the benefits of Licorice for Fatty liver disease?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might be useful in case of fatty liver caused by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). Due to its detoxification and antioxidant properties, Licorice reverses the liver damage caused by CCl4 by inhibiting the increased activity of liver enzymes and increasing the level of antioxidants in the liver. Glycyrrhizic acid present in Licorice has good hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore can be effective in treating nonalcoholic hepatitis as well[15][16].

What are the benefits of Licorice for Local anesthesia (Numb tissues in a specific area)?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps in managing pain in the body by balancing Vata dosha.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Fatigue?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice is known to relieve tiredness and fatigue by providing instant energy due to its Madhur (sweet) and Rasayana (Rejuvenating) property.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection?

scientific
Scientific View
Glycyrrhizin in Licorice has antiviral activity and prevents the multiplication of hepatitis C virus. It prevents the virus from infecting the healthy liver cells and is known to improve the conditions of patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C[4]. Licorice is also known to have hepatoprotective activity as it fights against the free radicals and prevents lipid peroxidation induced cell damage[2].

How effective is Licorice?

Likely effective
Heartburn
Insufficient evidence
Arthritis, Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, Cough, Familial Mediterranean fever (Hereditary inflammatory disorder), Fatigue, Fatty liver disease, High cholesterol, Increased potassium levels in blood, Increased prolactin levels, Infections, Infertility, Irritable bowel syndrome, Local anesthesia (Numb tissues in a specific area), Malaria, Menopausal symptoms, Mouth sores, Muscle spasms, Obesity, Prostate cancer, Stomach ulcers, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Tuberculosis (TB)

Precautions when using Licorice

Advice from Experts
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might act like estrogen therefore, it is advised to avoid the use of Licorice in hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids[3].
scientific
Scientific View
It is advisable to avoid Licorice in people with low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia) as it can worsen the condition by further reducing the potassium levels[3].
scientific
Scientific View
A drop in the level of potassium in the blood can also worsen hypertonia (a muscle condition caused by nerve problems). Therefore, the use of Licorice should be avoided in such cases[3].
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might interfere with the blood pressure levels during and after surgery. So it is advisable to stop taking Licorice at least 2 weeks before the scheduled surgery[3].
Allergy
scientific
Scientific View
People who are allergic or hypersensitive to Licorice or its constituents should use it under a doctor’s supervision[11].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Scientific View
Due to the lack of scientific evidence, medicinal use of Licorice should be avoided during breastfeeding[3].
Moderate Medicine Interaction
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might decrease the level of potassium in the body. This decrease in the level of potassium can increase the risk of side effects of Digoxin (cardiac glycosides). Thus, it is advisable to avoid the use of Licorice along with Digoxin[3].
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might decrease the level of potassium in the body. The use of Licorice should be avoided along with corticosteroids like dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisone as it can worsen the condition by further reducing the potassium levels[3].
Other Interaction
scientific
Scientific View
Use of Licorice along with estrogen pills like conjugated equine estrogens, ethinyl estradiol or estradiol, might decrease the effects of these pills. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid the use of Licorice with estrogen pills[3].
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice can decrease the level of potassium in the body. Taking Licorice along with diuretics like ethacrynic acid and furosemide could lead to excessive loss of potassium from the body. Thus, licorice should be avoided in people taking diuretics[3].
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice can decrease the level of potassium in the body, therefore, avoid using it with other potassium lowering drugs like insulin, sodium polystyrene and laxatives[11].
Patients with heart disease
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice may lower blood pressure. So it is generally advised to monitor the blood pressure regularly while taking Licorice along with anti-hypertensive drugs[3].
Patients with kidney disease
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice should be used cautiously in patients with kidney disease as it can worsen the condition[3].
Pregnancy
scientific
Scientific View
High consumption of licorice may increase the risk of miscarriage or early delivery. Therefore, the use of Licorice should be avoided during pregnancy[3].
Severe Medicine Interaction
scientific
Scientific View
Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Use of Licorice should be avoided when you are taking warfarin as it might decrease its effectiveness and increase the risk of clotting. Dose adjustment might be needed in such cases[3].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Scientific View
1. Headache
2. Weakness
3. Tiredness
4.Nausea
5. Decreased sexual interest in men
6. Electrolyte disturbances[3][11]
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice should be taken in a recommended dose and for a recommended duration under a doctor’s supervision.

Recommended Dosage of Licorice

  • Licorice Churna - ¼-½ teaspoon twice a day.
  • Licorice Capsule - 1-2 capsules twice a day.
  • Licorice Tablet - 1-2 tablets twice a day.
  • Licorice Tea - 8-10 teaspoon once or twice a day.
  • Licorice Candy - 1-2 candies twice a day or as per your requirement.
  • Licorice Mother Tincture - 6-12 drops diluted with water, twice or thrice a day

How to use Licorice

1. Licorice dried root
a. Take a dried Licorice root.
b. Chew it properly to manage cough and hyperacidity[12].

2. Licorice Churna
a. Take ¼-½ teaspoon of Licorice churna.
b. Swallow it with water before meals, twice a day.

3. Licorice Capsule
a. Take 1-2 capsules of Licorice (Yashtimadhu) capsule.
b. Swallow it with water before meals, twice a day.

4. Licorice Tablet
a. Take 1-2 tablets of Licorice (Yashtimadhu) tablets.
b. Swallow it with water before meals, twice a day.

5. Licorice Candies
Take 1-2 Licorice candies twice a day or as per your requirement.

6. Licorice Kwath (tea)
a. Take 8-10 teaspoons of Licorice kwath.
b. Drink it with water before meals, twice a day.

7. Licorice Tincture
a. Take 6-12 drops of Licorice tincture.
b. Dilute it with lukewarm water.
c. Drink it twice or thrice a day.

8. Licorice Gargle
a. Take 1 teaspoon of Licorice powder.
b. Add it to 1 glass of warm water and stir until the powder gets properly dissolved.
c. Gargle with this solution twice a day to get relief from a sore throat and bad breath[5].

9. Licorice Ginger Tea
a. Put 2 cups of water in a pan.
b. Add roughly crushed 2 raw Licorice roots and ginger to it.
c. Also, add ½ teaspoon tea leaves.
d. Let the mixture boil on medium flame for 5-7 minutes.
e. Strain with the help of a fine strainer.
f. Drink this every morning to reduce problems associated with the upper respiratory tract, digestive and intestinal infections[13].

10. Licorice Milk
a. Add 1 glass of milk in a pan.
b. Bring it to boil.
c. Add ¼ teaspoon of Licorice powder to the milk and stir until it gets properly dissolved.
d. Drink it immediately[14].

Benefits of Licorice

What are the benefits of Licorice for Eczema?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might be useful in reducing the signs and symptoms associated with skin eruptions like eczema due to its anti-inflammatory property[21].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice might relieve the symptoms of eczema such as inflammation, dryness and itching due to its Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) properties.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Psoriasis?

scientific
Scientific View
Studies state that glycyrrhizin present in Licorice might be useful in managing the signs and symptoms of psoriasis due to its immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory properties[20].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps manage psoriasis by balancing aggravated Pitta due to its Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) properties. Licorice also helps improve the immunity due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) nature.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Bleeding?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice controls bleeding and helps in quick healing of wound due to its Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) properties.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Mouth sores?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might be useful in reducing the symptoms of oral lichen planus. Oral lichen planus is an inflammatory disease associated with abnormal thickening of the oral mucosa in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Glycyrrhizin in Licorice controls the redness and swelling inside the mouth in case of mouth sores[19].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice might help in case of mouth sores due to its Ropan (healing) and Rasayana (rejuvenating) nature.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Melasma?

scientific
Scientific View
Liquiritin present in Licorice reduces the melanin content in the skin and might help improve melasma. The antioxidants present in the extract also contributes to the decrease in melanin thereby inducing skin lightening[2][22].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps in managing blemishes and dark spots in melasma due to its Pitta balancing and Rasayana (rejuvenating) properties. It also gives a cooling and soothing effect on the skin.

What are the benefits of Licorice for Dental plaque?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice might be useful in preventing biofilm formation responsible for dental plaque. Licorice inhibits the activity of S.mutans that is majorly responsible for biofilm formation leading to dental plaque. This further inhibits acid production by bacteria and loss of minerals leading to dental cavities[5].

How effective is Licorice?

Likely effective
Eczema
Insufficient evidence
Bleeding, Dental plaque, Infections, Melasma, Mouth sores, Psoriasis

Precautions when using Licorice

Advice from Experts
scientific
Scientific View
Licorice is possibly safe when appropriately applied to the skin for a short period of time[3].
Allergy
scientific
Scientific View
Apply Licorice to a small area first to test for possible allergic reactions. People who are allergic to Licorice or its constituents should use it under the doctor’s supervision.
scientific
Scientific View
People hypersensitive to Licorice can develop rashes on the skin[11].

Tip:
Use Licorice (Mulethi) leaves paste or powder with honey or rose water if your skin is hypersensitive.

Recommended Dosage of Licorice

  • Licorice Paste - ¼-½ teaspoon or as per your requirement.
  • Licorice Powder - ½-1 teaspoon or as per your requirement.

How to use Licorice

1. Licorice Honey Face pack
a. Take 15-20 fresh Licorice leaves and blend them to form a smooth paste.
b. Add 2 teaspoon of honey to the paste.
c. Apply evenly over the face, neck and hands.
d. Let it dry for 5-7 minutes.
e. Wash thoroughly with tap water.
f. Use this remedy three times a week to get rid of tanning and dullness.

2. Licorice with Amla juice
a. Take 2 teaspoons of Licorice (Mulethi) powder.
b. Mix with 5-6 teaspoons of amla juice and apply evenly on the scalp.
c. Let it sit for 2-4 hours.
d. Wash with tap water.
e. Use this remedy twice a week for a clean and oil-free scalp.

3. Licorice Turmeric face pack
a. Take ½ teaspoon of Licorice (Mulethi) powder.
b. Add 1 teaspoon of multani mitti and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder.
c. Also add 2 teaspoons of rose water to it.
d. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth paste.
e. Apply evenly onto the face and neck and let it dry for 5-7 minutes.
f. Wash thoroughly with tap water.
g. Repeat thrice a week to improve your skin tone.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can Liquorice be used for hair growth?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice has good hair growth promoting property and can be safely used for managing alopecia (hair loss).

Q. How to store Liquorice Candies?

scientific
Scientific View
Store Licorice in a cool, dry area and after opening, keep the package tightly closed preferably in airtight containers. Also, Licorice should not be stored in an area that is too cold as it can lose its moisture and might solidify.

Tip:
If Licorice candy develops an odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded immediately.

Q. How to use Liquorice root sticks?

scientific
Scientific View
You can add Licorice sticks to a teapot and extract the flavors and add it to your tea to enhance the taste. You can even chew the sticks.

Q. How do you grow Liquorice?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice can be easily grown from the seeds. Soak the seeds for at least 24 hours in lukewarm water and then sow the seeds in a potting mix in a depth of 1/2 inch. Cover the seeds with soil and keep it evenly moist until the seeds germinate.

Q. What does Liquorice do to your skin and hair?

scientific
Scientific View
Glycyrrhizin in Licorice is considered to be the main component to fight against the free radicals and prevent skin and hair damage. Licorice is known to have UV protective, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from these benefits, ethanolic extract of Licorice is known to improve the elasticity and hydration properties of the skin[2].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice is good for skin due to its Ropan (healing) properties and also shows good results in managing blemishes and dark spots due to its Pitta balancing and Rasayana properties. In case of hair, Licorice might control hair fall and premature greying due to its Pitta and Vata balancing properties.

Q. Does Liquorice help in skin lightening?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice is considered to be the safest skin lightening agent. Liquiritin in Licorice extract inhibits the tyrosinase activity leading to a decrease in the melanin content in the skin. The antioxidants present in the extract also contributes to the decrease in melanin thereby inducing skin lightening[2].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Licorice helps in managing blemishes and dark spots in melasma due to its Pitta balancing and Rasayana (rejuvenating) properties. It also gives a cooling and soothing effect on the skin.

Q. Is Liquorice good for your dental health?

scientific
Scientific View
Licorice has anti-cariogenic properties (prevents the formation of cavities) and inhibits the adherence and biofilm formation of the bacteria. Licorice is sweet in taste and stimulates the flow of saliva which is known to have antibacterial action, buffering capacity, cleansing effect and remineralization activity (to restore the mineral loss). Licorice also reduces the formation of inflammatory mediators responsible for the inflammation of gums[5].

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. Damle M.Glycyrrhiza glabra (Liquorice)-a potent medicinal herb.International Journal of Herbal Medicine.2014;2(2):132-136.
  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-881/licorice.
  4. Wang L, Yang R, Yuan B, et al.The antiviral and antimicrobial activities of licorice, a widely-used Chinese herb.Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B.2015;5(4):310–315.
  5. Messier C, Epifano F, Genovese S, et al.Licorice and its potential beneficial effects in common oro-dental diseases.Oral Diseases.2012;18:32–39
  6. Qiao X, Ji S, Yu S, et al.Identification of key Licorice constituents which interact with cytochrome P450: Evaluation by LC/MS/MS cocktail assay and metabolic profiling.The AAPS Journal.2014;16(1):101-113.
  7. Huang QC, Wang MJ, Chen XM, et al.Can active components of licorice, glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid, lick rheumatoid arthritis?Oncotarget.2015;7(2):1193-1202.
  8. Tachjian A, Maria V, Jahangir A.Use of herbal products and potential interactions in patients with cardiovascular diseases.J Am Coll Cardiol.2010;55(6):515–525.
  9. Izzo AA.Interactions between herbs and conventional drugs: Overview of the clinical data.Med Princ Pract.2012;21:404–428.
  10. Ahmed M, Hwang JH, Choi S, et al.Safety classification of herbal medicines used among pregnant women in asian countries: A systematic review.BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.2017;17:489.
  11. Ulbricht CE.Natural Standard:Herb and Supplement Guide, An Evidence Based Reference.Elsevier;2010.
  12. Anderson DM, Smith WG. The antitussive activity of glycyrrhetinic acid and its derivatives. J.Pharm.Pharmacol.1961;13:396-404.
  13. Nitalikar M, Kailas C, Balaji V,et.al..Antibacterial Activities of Glycyrrhiza glabra Root Extract. International Journal of Pharm Tech Research.2010;2(1):899-901.
  14. Da Nagao Y, Sata M, Suzuki H,. Effectiveness of glycyrrhizin for oral lichen planus in patients with chronic HCV infection. J Gastroenterol 1996; 31:691-695.
  15. Huo HZ, Wang B, Liang YK, et al. Hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects of Licorice extract against CCl4-induced oxidative damage in rats. Int. J. Mol. Sci.2011;12:6529-6543.
  16. Li JY, Cao HY, Liu P, et al. Glycyrrhizic acid in the treatment of liver diseases: Literature review. BioMed Research International.2014.
  17. Raveendra KR, Jayachandra, Srinivasa V, et al. An extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra (GutGard) alleviates symptoms of functional dyspepsia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.2012.
  18. hirugnanam S, Xu L, Ramaswamy K, et al. Glycyrrhizin induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cell lines DU-145 and LNCaP. Oncology Reports.2008;20:1387-1392.
  19. Glycyrrhiza glabra - Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review.2005;10(3):230-237.
  20. K.H. Mou, D. Han, W.L. Liu, et al. Combination therapy of orally administered glycyrrhizin and UVB improved active-stage generalized vitiligo. Braz J Med Biol Res.2016;49(8).
  21. Saeedi M, Semnani KM. The treatment of atopic dermatitis with Licorice gel. Journal of Dermatological Treatment.2003;14:1-3.
  22. Khan BA, Akhtar N, Hussain I, et al. Whitening efficacy of plant extracts including Hippophae rhamnoides and Cassia fistula extracts on the skin of Asian patients with melasma. Postep Derm Alergol.2013;226-232.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.