Liquorice / Licorice

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Herbs
   
 

Liquorice / Licorice

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 system.
Adrenal tonic.
Anti-allergic.
Anti-inflammatory.
Anti-microbial properties (especially against: Candida Albicans, hepatitis B and Staphylococcus aureus).
Cortisone mimicking properties.
Detoxification.
Expectorant.
Mild laxative.
Oestrogen balancing properties.
Demulcent (soothes mucous membranes).
Protects the gastric mucosa against ulceration.
Anti-depressant properties.


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 retention, potassium 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 drugs.

   

 

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