The licorice root herb, like many other herbs, dates back literally thousands of years and has been widely used as an herbal medicine.
Its greatest popularity in contemporary society is as a sweet tasting candy due to its unique, rich taste, although its sweetness is not as rich naturally.
Among ancients, though, its primary uses were medicinal being used in everything from helping upset stomachs to restoring libido as a tonic.
Botanically, it comes from the pea family and is still widely cultivated in Greece and Turkey. Licorice-root herb’s chief therapeutic compound is glycyrrhizin, which is found in the underground stem.
Literally, hundreds of therapeutic substances have been found in licorice including flavonoids and plant estrogens or phytoestrogens.
Besides its health benefits, which we’ll get to momentarily, it is often added to other bitter herbs so as to mask the characteristic bitterness of most herbs due to its unique sweet taste.
Licorice Root Herb Qualities & Benefits
What are the benefits of licorice herb? Significant if not varied. Licorice-root extract has been extensively studied and have been found to be beneficial in many ailments.
The glycyrrhizin that we mentioned, along with DGL (another potent compound in licorice root herb, have been found to help in the following:
- Fighting cancer. Animal studies show glycyrrhizin to boost immune-system activity, fighting various cancers including breast, colon, and lung. Other studies conducted, for example, by the National Cancer Institute have validated these findings as well.
- Alleviate indigestion, crohn’s disease, colitis, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Prevent coronary disease. Studies have found it minimizes the damage done by LDL (the bad cholesterol) by minimizing plaque formation. The compound glabridin is what helps with this.
- Licorice-root extract has been found to have powerful antioxidants, thus fighting aging.
- Helps to minimize the effects or existence of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
- Helps soothe skin problems like shingles and eczema.
- It helps with PMS and menstrual issues endemic to females, namely minimizing breast tenderness, bloating, mood swings, etc.
- Licorice actually helps your liver as licorice herb’s anti-inflammatory properties help contribute to liver health and by extension the health of our system as the liver helps detoxify the body from toxins.
- Licorice’s anti-inflammatory properties also contribute toward minimizing the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
Needless, to say and as you can see, licorice-root herb has many therapeutic and health benefits you probably weren’t aware of. Don’t think that taking licorice candy can provide the therapeutic benefits of licorice root herb — it can’t. The DGL, glabridin, and glycyrrhizin active compounds can be found only in standardized extracts of licorice root and in licorice root extract supplements.
The side effects and general guidelines that you need to know about that are possible with Licorice Root Herb we felt significant enough to put on a separate web page. To learn more about licorice root side effects, click the preceding link.
Licorice Root Extract Supplement
It’s possible to get Licorice Herb in many different forms, i.e., as a wafer, tincture, tablet, lozenge, liquid, dried herb for tea, as a cream (this is where it’s especially beneficial for eczema and other skin problems) and of course as a capsule. In order to get a good licorice root extract supplement, we recommend the following criteria:
- Again, avoid licorice candy if you’re seeking the therapeutic health benefits of licorice root. The active compounds are destroyed in the candy making process.
- As licorice is is an herb, only get it as a standardized extract form. Standardized extracts preserve the therapeutic active compounds like glabridin, glycyrrhizin, and DGL.
- It is also important that you buy the root extract as this is where the active ingredients are for licorice root.
- If the licorice doesn’t have glycyrrhizin, look for medications labeled DGL or ones that are deglycyrrhizinated.
- For licorice with glycyrrhizin, ideally, look for licorice supplements that have 22% glycyrrhizinic acid.
- 1. The supplements should be produced at pharmaceutical standard GMP registered facilities. Facilities that are GMP registered comply with the most rigid standards so as to minimize the possibility of product contaminants. (These are the same standards pharmaceutical companies in the United States are required to operate under as mandated by the FDA.) Nutritional supplements are not regulated by FDA and as such fraud is rampant with many so-called supplements containing contaminants with 1 in 5 not having the ingredients as proclaimed on the label!
- Ideally, make sure the supplement does not contain any fillers or additives such as sucrose (sugar), starch, gluten, silica (sand) or any other artificial colors, dyes, or flavors.
- If buying tablet licorice, look for tablets with enteric coating as this inert substance protects the vitamins from being lost in the gastric acids. Enteric coating protects the vitamins until they can dissolve in the upper intestine where they are then assimilated into the blood stream.
Quite frankly, I don’t have a licorice supplement to recommend to you. I too want all the benefits of licorice but haven’t been able to find in our ongoing research a licorice root herb supplement that meets all the above criteria.
What I’ve done is find a supplement that gives us all the benefits of licorice root extract found in other herbal extracts or nutrients. If you’re interested in perhaps the most scientifically designed nutritional supplement or vitamin in the world, click on the preceding link.
I sincerely hope this Licorice root herb page has been useful to you.
Yours in health,