Given the nickname, “Elixir of Life” , licorice is the sweet, exotic smelling root of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) that is native to Southern Europe and Asia. The root has been cultivated for thousands of years and used in both culinary and medicinal applications. Ancient Egyptians as well as ancient Chinese, Greeks and Hindus recognized early on the value of the humble licorice root, and today, it is valued still. In fact, licorice root is presently one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine…
Health Benefits of Licorice Root:
Licorice root contains wellness properties that include flavonoids, glycyrrhizic acid, plant sterols, carbenoxolone and anethole.
- Licorice root acts as a natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antispasmodic.
- Licorice root contains soothing properties that can deter symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Licorice root promotes a healthy mouth by warding off plaque, canker sores, decay and bacteria. DIY Tip: Mix a few tsps. of ground licorice root in a cup of distilled water and swish for a natural mouthwash.
- Licorice root promotes healthy hair and skin – licorice root extract is often used in natural soaps, shampoos, body washes, and deodorants to ward off dandruff, athlete’s foot, skin rash, psoriasis and hyperpigmentation.
- Licorice root can bring calm to troubled GI tract – it promotes the detox of bad bacteria while helping to eliminate gas and constipation.
- Licorice root works as a natural expectorant and demulcent and therefore often used to remedy coughs, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, emphysema and post nasal drip.
- Licorice root is used to remedy symptoms of PMS and hot flashes.
- Licorice root can help with adrenal fatigue.
- Licorice root is versatile in culinary applications – it is often used to sweeten confectionaries as well as add distinct flavor to bland dishes. It is highly favored in candies, lozenges and syrups.
How to Use Licorice Root:
Licorice root is available in the forms of readymade teas, grounded powders, capsule supplements and liquid extracts as well as the dried roots. Variations of licorice tea are the most popular forms of applications – it is often steeped in hot water with a dab of honey and sipped slowly. The roots can be chewed and the powder and extracts can be added to syrups, teas and juices. Also, you can purchase readymade licorice candies and drops.
Licorice Root Side Effects:
Pure licorice root should not be consumed non-stop over long periods, instead, it should be used sporadically in the doses recommended on the packaging or DGL varieties (the glycyrrhizic acid has been removed) should be consumed instead. Studies have determined that long term consumptions of pure licorice can lead to hypertension, fluid retention and hypokalemia. Pregnant women and those with liver and kidney problems are advised not to consume licorice root.
Fun Folklore about Licorice Root:
Legend has it, that when the tomb of King Tut was opened, in there were bundles of licorice root nestling among his fine pieces of jewelry and artwork. It is said that the king valued the taste and properties of licorice so much that he requested to be sent away with it.
Troops led by Alexander the Great chewed on licorice root to ward off thirst and to increase stamina and endurance.
- Napoleon Bonaparte found licorice so enjoyable to eat that he consumed it throughout the day – he ate so much of it that it stained his teeth black.
- Licorice root was a popular ingredient in brews made by witches.
Disclaimer: We make no claims that licorice root can cure any diseases, please exercise caution and use the suggestions posted at your own risk. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement. Additionally, this post does contain affiliate links, while they do not affect the price of the product on your end, using them to purchase your sustainable alternatives does help to keep this website running, therefore, we thank you in advance.