Licorice Roots Benefit Problems With Hypoglycemia

Jun 9


Thelma Oliver

Thelma Oliver

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

When you hear the word ‘licorice,’ you probably think of the black or red candy in long sticks or bite-sized pieces. The candy by that name actually contains little or no licorice. Instead, the real value of the plant is in the licorice root itself. The name licorice comes from a Greek word meaning ‘sweet root.’ The scientific name is Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia officinalis. It is also called Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Kan-ts'ao, Kuo-lao, Sweet Licorice, Sweet Wood, and Yasti Madhu, to name a few. Used in proper doses in moderation, licorice is one of the most powerful members of the herbal family.


The word ‘licorice,’ probably brings to mind the black or red candy in long sticks or bite-sized pieces. To be honest,Licorice Roots Benefit  Problems  With Hypoglycemia Articles the candy has little or no licorice in it. But its namesake is rich in value - primarily the licorice root! The name comes from two Greek roots meaning ‘sweet root.’ Officially it is Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia officinalis but also known as Chinese Licorice, Sweet Licorice, Kuo-lao, Gan Cao, Kan-ts'ao, Sweet Wood, and Yasti Madhu, and others. When used in moderation, licorice is one of the most powerful herbs we have.

The licorice plant is obtained mainly from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The dried plants can grow to over four feet. The plant has bluish purple and white flowers that resemble the blooms of the sweet pea. The licorice roots are cleaned, ground, and then boiled. The curdled, very strong tasting extract is dried again. This is again, along with natural flavors, dissolved in water and formed in molds.

Licorice has well documented history. Licorice has been discovered in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, including that of Tutankhamen. The ancient Hindus believed it increased sexual vigor when prepared as a beverage with milk and sugar. In Greece and Rome, licorice was employed as a tonic and also as a remedy for coughs, colds, and sore throats. Three thousand year ago the Chinese affirmed that eating the root would give them strength and endurance. They prepared a special tea of it for use as a medicine. In North American folk medicine, licorice was used as a cough suppressant, expectorant, laxative, and treatment for various cancers. Native Americans used licorice to alleviate pain for women experiencing a difficult childbirth. Early pharmacists used it as a sweetening agent and flavoring in many of their syrups and lozenges. Today, licorice extracts are used in sweeteners for diabetics and those suffering from hypoglycemia. Licorice stays potent for a long time too. A sample of licorice from 756 A.D. was found to retain its active ingredients. Licorice is so important in Pontefract, Great Britain, that they still celebrate a licorice harvest festival there.

Licorice is an antibacterial immune system stimulant. But it also causes other herbs to reach their potential as well. Licorice contains the substance glycyrrhizin that is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Besides sweetening, glycyrrhizin also seems to stop the growth of many viruses such as influenza, as well as bacteria. Licorice is especially powerful against immune suppression radiation treatment, mucous membrane infections, cancers, or general fatigue.

Presently, licorice extracts are used extensively as ingredients in cough drops and syrups, tonics, laxatives, antismoking lozenges, and other preparations. They are also used as flavoring agents to mask bitter, nauseous, or other undesirable tastes in certain medicines. Therefore, it is a useful addition to many children’s formulas.

Licorice is best known to some for its estrogenic effects, which make is a useful herb for menopause. Its antiulcer activity make it an herb of choice for both stomach and duodenal ulceration. Because it stimulates expectoration and is powerfully healing for mucous membrane systems, it has a long history of use for upper respiratory infections. Licorice is used in treating many ailments including arthritis, asthma, athlete's foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, fungal infections, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, prostate enlargement, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendonitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, viral infections, and yeast infections.

Besides glycyrrhizin, hundreds of other potentially healing substances have also been identified in licorice. These include compounds called flavonoids and various plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). Licorice is used to encourage and regulate the adrenal glands and the pancreas. Since the adrenalin helps control insulin, these work together. Licorice also acts as a natural cortisone or as a replacement hormone for cortisone. It helps voice improvement and injured voice muscles for both hoarseness or throat damage. Licorice also aids the intestinal tract, acting as a mild laxative. It strengthens the heart and circulatory system.

You can partake of licorice in several ways. It makes an excellent tea and tincture. Of course, it can be used in other forms. For instance, you can put ground licorice root in capsules. It can also make other treatments more palatable. Feel free to add it to dishes in small amounts so as to add nutritional value without changing the flavor.

A few warnings are in order. It is best to use licorice is in combination with other bulk herbs. When used in excess, problems can occur. Licorice can cause water retention and can raise blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure, prolonged use should be avoided. Licorice can also cause a mild unwanted adrenal stimulation. Avoid using too much licorice internally during pregnancy or nursing. Licorice also reacts with many prescription drugs. For this reason, if you are using other medication, consult with your doctor before taking licorice.