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Information on Licorice including the benefits and uses of using Licorice. Your Health are located in Australia are a group of alternative / holistic doctors and use Licorice as part of a holistic approach to health.
Botanical name

Glycyrrhiza glabra


Licorice is a core ingredient of well loved confectionary. Glycyrrhizin, one of the active components in licorice root, is 50 times sweeter than sugar and gives licorice its characteristic taste. Pure licorice root is also a herbal medicine that, while very effective, carries risk of side-effects at high doses or in susceptible people. (See Cautions, Contraindications and Side Effects)

Licorice root has the following actions:

  • Relaxing expectorant (soothes coughs)
  • Demulcent (soothing effect on contact)
  • Anti-inflammatory (via the body's own corticosteroid mechanisms)
  • Antiulcer against gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Laxative
  • Adaptogen tonic (increases resistance to the effects of physical, mental and emotional stress)
  • Hepatoprotective (protects the liver)
  • Antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial
  • Antioxidant and antitumor
  • Hormonal regulation
Conditions commonly used for
  • Digestive disorders - Peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, chronic gastritis, heartburn, constipation
  • Immune - infections, including hepatitis, herpes, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, allergies, autoimmune disorders
  • Inflammatory conditions - including eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, asthma, systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Primary adrenocortical insufficiency, Addison's disease
Common dosage range

Generally recommended doses range from 1 to 5 g of dried root, as infusion or decoction three times per day. Deglycyrrhizinated extracts are often utilised for peptic ulcer, with each product stating it's own dosage range.

Cautions, Contraindications and Side Effects

  • Excessive consumption of licorice and its ingredient glycyrrhizin causes 'pseudoaldosteronism' or 'mineralocorticoid syndrome' due to the effects on the adrenal glands. Symptoms include headache, lethargy, muscular weakness or aches, high blood pressure, sodium and water retention, increased potassium loss, and sometimes even cardiac arrest. Symptoms can manifest within one week if the daily ingestion of licorice is over 100 g. Deglycyrrhizinated extracts are virtually free of adverse mineralocorticoid side effects.
  • Adverse reactions to ingesting licorice products are more common in individuals who have hypertension, kidney or heart disorders, hypokalemia, liver disease, and hypertonia.
  • Licorice may affect the way certain drugs work, especially diuretics and anti-hypertensive drugs. Please consult your healthcare practitioner.
  • Not recommended for pregnant women or infants.
  • High doses of licorice products should not be used for longer than four to six weeks.
Links & Other Information

It is not within the scope of the YourHealth website to provide comprehensive information on documented or potential herb-drug interactions. Please seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner.

Contact YourHealth for referenced material regarding this herb, any conditions or therapies mentioned.

A Medical Practitioner specialising in Integrative Medicine, a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath will be well trained in the use of nutrients, including their proper dosage, contraindications and potential drug interactions.

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