Licorice (Liquorice, root of Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice (Liquorice) or “sweet root” has been used as a sweetener and as a natural remedy for centuries. It is used both in Eastern and Western cultures as a folk remedy for illnesses ranging from common cold to liver disease. Licorice is a natural expectorant, so it is a great remedy for clearing up the lung from phlegm when one is suffering from chest cold or other illnesses. Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizic acid (or glycyrrhizin).

Also, Licorice has a soothing and coating effect, so it additionally helps relieve the symptoms of asthma, cough and breathing and lung problems.

The coating effect of this natural sweet root helps treat stomach peptic ulcers, as well as sooth and treat cold sores, and even canker sores when used by gargling with it several times a day.

Glycyrrhiza glabra - Botanical Garden Bremen

Glycyrrhiza glabra – Botanical Garden Bremen

Apart from that, licorice is also used to help with problems with indigestion, GERD or Crohn’s disease.

Others use it as a way to help boost weight loss and especially for the reduction of body fat. This is because licorice seems to actually suppress the aldosterone hormone production.

In some cultures, licorice is used as a topical remedy to help relieve the itching and swelling symptoms of eczema.

It is known to help with immune and autoimmune conditions, such as: psoriasis, systematic lupus erythematous, Addison’s disease and other immune and inflammatory disorders.

Licorice is available in peeled and unpeeled dry root form, in the form of tablets, teas, ointments and extracts.

Licorice may have some negative side effects such as: headaches, hypertension, water retention, swelling, and even heart attacks – when taken with additional glycyrrhizin. Licorice is not recommended for people suffering one for of the following serious diseases, including: hypertension, breast, prostate, ovarian or uterine cancers, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease, liver or kidney disease. It should be avoided by pregnant women as well. It is known to interact negatively with quite a few medications such as corticosteroids, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, digoxin, insulin, medicine for diabetes, contraceptives, laxatives and others.

A good rule of the thumb is to have a consultation with your doctor before starting to take licorice as a remedy.

Otherwise, licorice has proven to be a potent antiviral natural agent, which can help prevent and treat flu, herpes and even hepatitis.

It is still preferred as a natural remedy because of its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects.

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