January 1, 2013
Licorice or Glycyrrhiza glabra is a type of legume similar to beans and peas. It comes from the regions of Southern Europe and several regions of Asia. Its roots are known for their extreme sweetness primarily due to the presence of the compound called glycyrrhizin. This compound is approximately fifty times sweeter than sugar. Because of its sweetness, licorice root is extensively used in candies. But this is not the only use of licorice root. Even the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra is recognized for its numerous medicinal benefits.
Licorice Root Health Benefits
The primary active compounds present in licorice root include phytoestrogens, glycyrrhizin and flavonoids. These compounds are significantly responsible for the health benefits of licorice root.
• As an expectorant, it is capable of loosening and thinning the mucus in order to promote its expulsion from the body. Thus, licorice herb can be used to relieve cough and congestion.
• Licorice can be used in treating peptic and stomach ulcers. The presence of glycyrrhizin in it will inhibit the action of enzymes which break down prostaglandin E. So, the level of prostaglandin E circulating in the body is increased. As a result, production of stomach mucus is increased while the production of stomach acids is reduced to make sure that the healing of the ulcers is fast.
• Licorice can enhance interferon levels in the body. In turn, it strengthens the immune system. Interferons are capable of inhibiting viral replications as well as enhancing the ability of the immune system in combating this infectious agent.
• It acts as an herbal remedy for treating cold sores and genital herpes due to herpes simplex virus.
• In addition, licorice is used in treating viral hepatitis like hepatitis B and C.
• With its antispasmodic effect, licorice provides relief for conditions like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
• It can also help reduce fever. Even headaches can be relieved with the use of licorice.
• Licorice can be used by those suffering from allergies and asthma. It could also be effective in conditions such as allergic rhinitis and hay fever.
• Body fat can be reduced with the help of licorice.
• It has isoflavones which are noted to be phytoestrogenic in nature. That is why licorice is used by women suffering from premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms.
• Aside from these, it can be useful in some other health conditions like enlargement of the prostate, heartburn, heart and cardiovascular diseases, yeast infections, hyperkalemia, sore throat, ileitis, fungal infections and tuberculosis.
• Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis can be alleviated through the use of licorice.
Filed under: Food Supplements