Licorice is a root based plant which is also known as sweet root.
It is available in many forms and it either contains glycyrrhizin or Deglycyrrhizinatedlicorice (DGL).The licorice plant is native to parts of Asia especially India and Southern India.
This black colored root from the licorice plant has a very distinctive and strong taste. It also has a pungent smell and it is an ingredient in many traditional remedies.Licorice root contains about 4% glycyrrhizic acid and is botanically named as GlycyrrhizaGlabra.
Lets read more about Licorice in the following article.
What Is Licorice?
Licorice belongs to the plant called Glycyrrhizaglabra. The people here classify it under the weed category. It is said that Egyptians loved the licorice root and later it became important to the Chinese too. Some types of licorice are used for flavoring tobacco and in the US to blend cigarettes.
Anise oil is used often to flavor licorice candy instead of licorice root because of its availability. Licorice is one of the few spices which are sweet on its own.
Glycyrrhizin is 50 times sweeter than sucrose. Some researchers have also suggested that it may actually be up to 150 times sweeter than sugar.
Health Benefits Of Licorice Root
1. Skin Brightening
Licorice helps in making the skin look fairer by brightening the skin’s color.
- Turmeric powder, Fuller’s earth, Licorice powder, Water
- Coconut/ almond/ olive oil
- Boil 1 big glass of water
- Put one tablespoon of licorice in water
- Strain the tea and let it cool down
- Make a face mask by mixing turmeric powder and fuller’s earth with licorice tea.
- Add few drops of recommended oil
- Apply this pack to your skin
- Let it dry
- Rinse off the face pack with normal water
2. Fading Blemishes
Blemishes and dark spots fade with the regular use of licorice. Regular use of licorice tea keeps skin hydrated and moisturized from within.
Licorice is known for giving soft and supple skin. Drink licorice regularly for this purpose. The recipe has been explained in the later sections.
3. Healing For Various Skin Conditions
Licorice is a very helpful remedy when it comes to skin. It is rich in all those properties which are required to treat and cure skin. It can keep various skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, dry skin and skin rashes away. It is capable of healing redness and inflammation.
It is anti-inflammatory, demulcent and antiseptic in nature. It is hydrating in nature and so does not let the skin dry. It can make the skin look fresh and younger.
4. Protecting Against Sun-Induced Skin Damage
Induce licorice tea in your daily diet plan to protect your skin against harmful UV radiations.
- Licorice powder, Water, Cucumber
- Boil 1 big glass of water. Add one tablespoon of licorice powder to it
- Let this steep and strain it. Crush the cucumber
- Add this crushed cucumber to the licorice tea. Apply this pack to your face to treat sun damage
5. Enriching The Hair Health
Licorice is a full packaged source of elements like choline, protein, Vitamin B. It also contains flavonoids, phytoestrogens, potassium, phosphorus, amines, and essential oils. Licorice promotes the health of the scalp and also takes care of the hair because of all these elements.
It prevents hair loss and treats dandruff. It is also a good remedy when it comes to treating bald scalp. Licorice is capable of trapping moisture. Thus, it paves a way for great hair health.
- Amla powder, Henna powder, Licorice, Water
- Boil water. Add licorice powder to it
- Let it boil and then steep. Strain this water
- Add enough amla powder and henna powder to make a pack
- Apply this pack to your scalp
- Keep it on for around 30-45 mins. Wash off with mild and gentle shampoo
- Or, you should make it a habit of consuming licorice tea once every day. This will make your hair immune towards problems and help your hair grow flawlessly.
6. Treating Arthritis
Licorice is anti-inflammatory in nature. It relieves the pain caused due to arthritis. It can abate swelling along with providing pain relief. If consumed regularly, it can improve the movement of joints. Drink licorice tea daily for this purpose.
7. Fighting Depression
Licorice root is a natural anti-depressant. It is capable of activating the functioning ofthe adrenal glands. This activating regulates the process of cortisol synthesis. Anxiety, chronic fatigue, and stress happen when the level of this hormone is low. Licorice tea maintains equilibrium and also regulates a person’s mood and sets depression aside.
8. Benefiting Liver
Licorice is an amazing detoxifier and so it helps in empowering liver and puts your worries to rest. If you have liver problems or there are any chances that you might get it, then start having licorice tea.
9. Benefiting The Diabetic Patient
Licorice tea is the best way to ensure health and sweetness in your life at the same time. It is one of the best substitutes for sugar for diabetic people and it benefits diabetic people by regulating the functions of their body. Consume licorice tea at least once a day for this purpose.
10. Beneficial For Cold
Licorice is anti-viral in nature. It can help in combatting cold to a great extent. It boosts up the immunity power of the body and eliminates the infection. It is also capable of treating a sore throat.
- Licorice powder, Honey
- Put very slight honey in one tablespoon of licorice powder. Mix it well
- Take one pinch at a time. Finish this one tablespoon in one day.
- Or, you can just drink hot licorice tea.
11. Treating Cardiac Disorders
Licorice keeps cholesterol level in control by activating the bile flow. It lowers the level of bad cholesterol and improves capillaries health. It restricts the arterial walls from getting stroked by plaque, thus inducing smooth blood circulation along with maintaining the best level of cholesterol. This ensures better functioning of the heart. Drink licorice tea daily to treat cardiac problems.
12. Improving Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension is a very difficult situation to handle. Licorice tea is a safe method to treat it. Regular use of licorice tea helps in getting rid of stress-related elements.
Fatigue, nausea, and dizziness are the stress related elements. It brings the blood pressure to a normal level and maintains it.
13. Treating Yeast Infection
Licorice helps in fighting yeast infections. These situations usually occur in women due to Candida Albicans. It heals the condition while providing immunity at the same time.
Phytoestrogens and anti-oxidants are something that licorice is abundant in. Women are able to pass this messy phase with the help of licorice easily.It shows positive results when it comes to hot flashes, fatigue and mood swings. Consume two cups of licorice tea daily to meet the equilibrium of these hormones.
15. Beneficial In Case Of Stomach Disorders
Licorice is a good laxative and eases constipation. The bacterial infections in the stomach causing inflammation and irritation can be cured with it. Licorice contains various flavonoids and chalcone in the root. It is thus able to solve such problems. These properties also strengthen the digestive system.
They sooth off the lining of the inflamed mucus. They also provide assured relief from gastric-related issues. Consume 2-3 cups a day for benefits.
16. Helps In Weight Loss
Licorice tea helps in lowering the body mass to a great extent. Drink 2 cups of licorice tea on a daily basis. Also, you should not forget to work out and have a balanced diet. If you follow this, you will start noticing the results in a few weeks.
17. Curing Canker Ulcers
The ulcers which occur on the cheeks and tongue are known as Canker ulcers. They are very irritating and painful. For solving such situations, gargle with licorice tea 4 times a day. This will provide quick relief and also reduces the pain and provides relief.
18. Premenstrual Syndrome
Licorice tea is rich in antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also enriched with estrogenic properties. All these properties, when combined, lead to relief from premenstrual syndromes.
These syndromes include nausea, breast tenderness, mood swings and bloating. In order to solve premenstrual syndrome, drink 2 cups a day. Start drinking this tea 3 days before the date. It will also help you in fighting menstrual cramps in a healthier way.
19. Herpes And Shingles
Licorice root has antiviral properties. The extracts of this root are used to treat shingles, sores, and herpes. Herpes is known to cause cold sores. This antiviral nature of licorice slows down the progression and does not allow the return of cold sores either.
- Licorice extract tablets/ capsules
- Licorice salve
- Take licorice tablet twice a day. The directions to consume the tablet will be mentioned in the tablet/ capsule pack.
- Apply licorice salve 4 to 5 times a day on the affected region.
The benefits of licorice tea also include chemo-preventive effects. Its effects help in preventing cancer. It is also anti-proliferative in nature. This nature restricts the growth of breast cancer cells.
Flavonoids like isoliquiritigenin present in licorice help in the suppression of colon carcinogenesis and activate apoptosis.
There is evidence which supports the fact that licorice extract performs anti-tumor actions. Licorice tea helps in preventing conditions like prostate cancer and prostatitis.
As mentioned before, licorice contains mild laxative properties. These properties help in detoxification of colon and blood supply. The presence of a dehydro glyasperin component in licorice helps in stimulating anti-oxidant enzymes.
This stimulation, in turn, helps in discarding toxic and harmful wastes from the body. To keep the regulation continuous, drink licorice at least once a day. But make sure not to drink more than 3 cups in one day.
Licorice is very effective in combating tuberculosis. It is also effective in the reducing the length of the healing process. It is antimicrobial and antimycobacterial in nature. These properties of licorice help in treating infections as well. It is because of these properties that licorice is a potent anti-tubercular agent too.
23. Dental Health Benefits
Dental conditions like gingivitis can be cured with the help of licorice. Licorice inhibits the production of dental plaque due to its antimicrobial property. All these properties of licorice make it a good option for oral hygiene products.
You will find many products such as mouthwashes or toothpaste based on licorice. If you have dental health problems, then you should start using them.
24. Cleanses Respiratory System
Licorice treats respiratory problems. Consumption of licorice helps in the production of healthy mucus. They also increase the production of phlegm which in turn helps in functioning of respiratory system without allowing sticky and old mucus to clog it.
25. Reduces Stress
Licorice is also known to reduce stress. Stress can exhaust the adrenal gland by making them produce cortisol and adrenaline constantly. Consumption of licorice relieves the adrenal gland and promotes the production of healthy cortisol.
Licorice Root Side Effects
Excess of everything is poisonous. Licorice also has possible side effects. You should not drink licorice tea in excess.
The intensity of side effects depends upon your medical history too. These are some of the side effects which can be caused by the consumption of an excess of licorice:
A pregnant woman should never consume a lot of licorice. Consumption of a lot of licorice increases the chances of miscarriage. Licorice affects hormone level and has a potential of stimulating menstruation.
Moreover, mothers who are breastfeeding should avoid licorice tea. Children who are small should not be given this herbal remedy. This is because it creates heat inside their body.
2. Drug Interactions
Licorice being an Ayurveda medicine at times interferes with the allopathic medications. A lot of intake of licorice may cause complications. These complications may be with antidepressants and blood pressure medications.
They can possibly build-up potassium in the body. The potassium is built when intervened by licorice tea. This potassium building can be dangerous to the body. If you are on birth control pills, then you may experience high blood pressure.
3. Water Retention
Licorice is an astringent substance. This property promotes water retention. So, one of the biggest side effects of consuming a lot of licorice tea is water retention.
The water retention can manifest as bloating or edema in legs. Furthermore, it can also cause inflammation, pain, and discomfort.
4. Hormonal Issues
Licorice tea affects the hormonal levels to a great extent. Hormones can be affected in men and women equally. Higher level intake may create risk for estrogen-related conditions in women and also results in dropping of testosterone levels in men.
5. High Blood Pressure
Consuming Licorice tea more than required can cause abnormal heart rhythms and makes heart jump. This increases the blood pressure in the body and can cause high blood pressure.
If you are a blood pressure patient, you should avoid Licorice tea. Moreover, you should consult a doctor before consuming.
6. Lower Potassium Levels
Licorice tea lowers the potassium levels in our body. These low levels of potassium cause abnormal heartbeats, heart rhythms and cause severe heart problems at last. Potassium levels are directly related to the heart. So, you should avoid Licorice tea in case you are a heart patient.
Different Names Of Licorice
Licorice is also spelled as Liquorice. It is popularly called Mulethi in Hindi and as Iratti Madhuram in Malayalam which means double sweet.
Constituents Of Licorice
The two major constituents of Licorice tea are as follows-
One of the main constituents known as glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for the sweetness in the Licorice root. Licorice is 50 times sweeter than sucrose and hence, is beneficial for diabetic patients.
It is a potassium and calcium enriched salt of a glycyrrhizic acid. It helps in raising prostaglandin levels, increases mucous secretion and promotes proliferation of cells in the stomach.
Licorice root is enriched in flavonoids. These flavonoids play a major role in pharmacological activities. These flavonoids help in decreasing abdominal fat and have anti-oxidant effects on the body.
Licorice is packed with a lot of nutritional benefits. Coumarins, flavonoid, volatile oils, glycosides are some of the major nutrients found in licorice. Chalcones, plant sterols, anethole and glycyrrhizic acid are some of the others.
Licorice is rich in medicinal benefits because of the presence of powerful phytochemicals present in licorice. Glycyrrhizin is a very popular saponin and is found in the roots of licorice.
The chalcones provide the distinct yellowish color to licorice. The aroma in the root of licorice is due to the presence of anethole.
Uses Of Licorice Root Powder
Licorice is used in flavoring tobacco and also in flavoring the various products based on tobacco. It provides tobacco products with a natural sweetness and a distinctive flavor.
This flavor blends readily with the natural and imitating flavoring components. Licorice is not detectable by the consumer and emphasis on the sweet flavor appears highly desirable. This is so because chewing tobacco requires a higher level of licorice extract.
2. Food And Confectionery
Mixing licorice with mint, menthol, aniseed or Laurel is a popular trend. Dried Licorice sticks are used as traditional confectionery in the Netherlands. These sticks are very popular these days. In Italy, the licorice root is eaten in small black pieces.
It is very popular in Syria and Egypt. It is sold in the form of drink in shops and by street vendors.
Licorice is also used for flavoring and coloring porter classes of beers by brewers.
Licorice is anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective and has many other benefits. It is used for applying topically against atopic dermatitis. It is also used to treat hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidaemia is the condition when there is a high amount of fat in the blood.
Licorice can be used to treat inflammation-induced skin hyperpigmentation. It is also capable of preventing disorders which are neurodegenerative and dental caries.
Licorice is also antiulcer, laxative, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antitumor.The compound glycyrrhizin of licorice is used for liver protection in tuberculosis therapy.
4. Folk Medicine
Licorice has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine. They believed it to harmonize the ingredients in a formula. Licorice also finds a good and respectable place in the practices of Ayurveda. Ayurveda believes that licorice is a good way for rejuvenation.
Licorice root is one of the most widely used plants for the ethnomedical therapy of jaundice.
Who Should Avoid Licorice?
1. Pregnant Woman:-
As mentioned earlier, Licorice has a tendency of stimulating menstruation and generates heat in our body. This increases the chances of miscarriage in case of pregnancy. Too much intake of black Licorice can also affect baby’s health and brain in the womb.
2. Breastfeeding Mothers:-
The mothers who had just given birth to their babies and are at breastfeeding stage should avoid Licorice. Licorice being an Ayurveda medicine generates heat inside the body and in case of babies, it can affect baby’s health.
3. High Blood Pressure Patients:-
Patients having high blood pressure should avoid consuming Licorice. Licorice makes your heart jump and increases blood pressure. However, the effect of Licorice depends upon your medical history.
Sometimes, if high blood pressure patients stop using Licorice, then its effects on them becomes minimal and they feel normal in a few days. But, in some cases, it can affect adversely.
4. Heart Patients:-
Licorice consumption lowers the potassium levels in the body. Lower potassium levels affect the heart rhythms, causes high blood pressure and at the end can cause severe heart problems. So, if you are suffering from heart diseases, you should avoid Licorice.
Moreover, you should consult your doctor before the intake of Licorice tea.
How To Make Licorice Root Tea?
Licorice tea can be made at home with ease. If you have any medications going on, you should consult your doctor before drinking this tea. The ingredients required can be purchased from any natural food store and the root is widely available around the world.
- 2 teaspoons of dried licorice root (chopped into 1-inch pieces)
- 8 ounces of water
- 1 teaspoon of honey
• Boil the water in a stainless-steel pot
• Add licorice root pieces to this boiling water
• Remove this mixture from heat now
• Let it steep for 5-6 mins
• Strain the mixture
• Add honey to flavor
• Do not consume more than 3 cups of this tea in a day. It can cause side effects.
Licorice Root Tea Pregnancy
It is advisable that a pregnant woman should not consume licorice tea. Following are some of the reasons that you should avoid licorice during pregnancy.
1. Unsafe During Pregnancy
Licorice is known for hormonal interaction. So, it may mimic the effects of estrogen which is a female sex hormone. This interaction may induce premature labor in pregnant women.
It is not just the tea to ignore, try to ignore licorice products as much possible when pregnant.
2. Foetal Development Complications
Licorice can cause severe fetal development complications. It has many estrogen-like effects. A male fetus exposed to high levels of estrogen may cause abnormalities. This exposure may lead to infertility later in life.
A female fetus if exposed may develop reproductive tract problems later in life.
Q.1 Is Licorice Fattening?
Yes, if you are above 40 in age. If you have a heart disease or high blood pressure, then there are chances that you will gain weight. Do not eat more than 57 g (two ounces) of licorice in one day.
Consumption of licorice more than this level may lead to potentially serious health problems. It can also cause an increase in blood pressure and an irregular heart rhythm. But, licorice found in foods is safe to eat and safe when consumed in regulated amounts.
Q.2 Does Licorice Cause Diarrhea Or Constipation?
Licorice, if consumed properly acts as a mild laxative and it regulates bowel movements. Yet, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is unpredictable. So, if you have IBS then you may feel constipated or come across diarrhea too.
If you are suffering from IBS, consult your doctor before starting to consume licorice tea. You should also look out for gluten in some forms of licorice if you have celiac disease.
Q.3 Is Licorice Root a Laxative?
Yes, as mentioned before licorice is a mild laxative. The herb coats your digestive system and in turn, encourages easier elimination.
However, licorice root is traditionally associated with soothing indigestion. Specific laxative benefits are not mentioned to great extent.
Q.4 Is Licorice Good For The Digestive System?
Yes, licorice is good for stomach related problems including irregular digestive system. Consuming licorice tea in regulated amounts can solve problems like stomach ulcers.
It can also solve ongoing inflammation. It strengthens the intestines and also solves gastric problems even if it is chronic.
Licorice is a traditional medicine. People who follow Ayurveda are very fond of this medicinal herb. It provides solutions to many remedies and also strengthens the body’s immune system.
It allows the body to come back to its normal functioning. It helps you become more beautiful and alive. It is a great herb and if you can, you must take licorice tea on a daily basis for a happy living.