Licorice Root
Plant Description Medical Properties Dosage
Caution & Interaction Efficacy Studies & Other Clinical Data Helpful Links

Latin (botanical) name: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Common names: Reglisse, Lacrisse, Sweet Licorice, Licorice Root, Sweet Wood, Sweet Root

Plant Description: Found throughout North Dakota, wild Licorice grows from Minnesota west to Alberta and Washington and south to Texas and California at elevations up to 8,500 ft. A tall, erect perennial plant, it has light, gracefully-spreading pinnate foliage and dark green lanceolate leaflets that hang down at night. Each leaf bears 7-21 leaflets up to 1-1/2" long that have small scales when young. The scales soon change into sticky, resinous dots. The leaves of the Licorice plant are pinnate and grow up to 8" long. Licorice blooms from June to August, with long-stemmed spikes of numerous bluish-purple to white papillonaceous flowers grouped into spikes about 2-3 inches long. These are followed by small leguminous, smooth-skinned seeds enclosed in dark brown pods with cocklebur-type prickles. The long, tough taproots of the Licorice plant are brown, and cylindrical. These plants are hairless. They may grow 3 feet tall in southern states, but plants in North Dakota are usually half that.

Medicinal Properties &Uses: The chief substance in Licorice Root is glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin is a sweet, white crystalline powder consisting of the calcium and potassium salts of glycyrrhizic acid. It has been studied for its anti-viral properties in the treatment of AIDS. In clinical trials in Japan, glycyrrhizin prevented progression of the HIV virus by inhibiting cell infection and inducing interferon activity. Other substances found in the root include starch, gum, protein, fat, resin, asparagin, a trace of tannin, and a small amount of volatile oil. Glycyrrhizin has a marked effect upon the endocrine system. Its glycosides are structurally similar to the natural steroids of the body. Licorice is a popular remedy for cough, some complications of tuberculosis, and many chest complaints such as bronchitis and catarrh. Because of its soothing properties, it often is used in cough medicines. It is also highly regarded as a soothing ingredient for sore throat and laryngitis. Glycyrrhizin is 50 times stronger than sucrose, which encourages the production of hormones such as hydrocortisone. This helps to explain its anti-inflammatory action which accounts for its use in the treatment of chronic inflammations such as arthritic and rheumatic diseases, chronic skin conditions, and autoimmune diseases in general. The second most prescribed herb in China, Licorice Root is used in the treatment of spleen, liver, and kidney ailments, and to strengthen and balance the female reproductive system. Some compounds found in Licorice are thought to help the adrenal glands function more smoothly in conditions of stress and exhaustion. The adrenal glands are responsible for hormones that keep the body systems balanced. The solidified Licorice extract forms the basis of many laxatives. It stimulates bile flow with a gentle action in constipation. Glycyrrhiza can be used as a non-sucrose sweetener, and can be taken safely by diabetics.
Dosage: 30-60 drops in water or juice, 2-3 times daily or as needed. Shake well before using.

Cautions & Interactions: Do not take during pregnancy or while nursing. Keep out of reach of children.
Efficacy Studies & Other Clinical Data: Helpful Links:
Disclaimer (U.S. Only): These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.