Commonly used as a flavouring agent.
The root of the liquorice plant
(Glycyrrhiza glabra) has
medicinal uses. The plant is a member
of the legume family.
Liquorice is one of the
most important herbs in Chinese traditional
medicines and has been used for more than
3,000 years for the treatment of peptic
ulcers, sore throats, coughs and boils.
It is also reputed to invigorate the heart
and spleen functions. The ancient Chinese
also used it as an antidote for drug poisoning.
Carbenoxelene – the first successful
drug for the treatment of duodenal and
gastric ulcers, is a derivative of glycyrrhetinic
acid (one of the active principles of
liquorice). A gel containing this drug
has been found to be useful in the treatment
of painful mouth ulcers and venereal ulcers.
Glycyrrhizin – an extract of the
liquorice root, has been reported to be
beneficial in the treatment of chronic
viral hepatitis and herpes zoster (‘shingles’).
Other reports indicate that it could retard
tooth decay by inhibiting the enzyme that
helps bacteria stick to the teeth.
Functions / Benefits
Soothing and healing effect on the digestive
Anti-microbial properties (especially
against: Candida Albicans, hepatitis B
and Staphylococcus aureus).
Cortisone mimicking properties.
Oestrogen balancing properties.
Demulcent (soothes mucous membranes).
Protects the gastric mucosa against ulceration.
Method / Dose
Made into tea or taken as capsules.
Available in Chinese herbal shops in
dried slices. Place a few slices together
with dried sour plum in a coffee mug.
Add hot water, (preferably cover the mug)
and allow to infuse for 20 minutes. Especially
good for soothing sore throats.
The Chinese often use it in a combination
with other herbs as a tonic for the stomach
and small intestine (its unique taste
is said to improve the palatability of
some herbal soups).
Contraindications / Cautions
Consumed over long periods may cause water
depletion, and raised blood pressure.
The substance, glycyrrhizin, although
has much curative benefits, has also been
identified as responsible for these unwanted
side-effects. Avoid if suffering from
high blood pressure or take digoxin-based