Nutritional Value of Licorice Root

Licorice root comes from the plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, which belongs to the pea plant family. Licorice root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an additive to most herbal remedies. The herb contains several nutrients and active constituents that give licorice root its potential health benefits. Before you begin taking licorice root for any medicinal purpose, consult your doctor to discuss the possible risks, side effects and drug interactions.

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If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Nutrients

Licorice root also contains flavonoids like glabridin, liquiritin and chalcones, as well as coumarins like glycyrol. The flavonoids and a substance called glycyrrhizin are considered the main active nutrients in licorice root, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Glycyrrhizin is a type of triterpenoid saponin.

Types

Because glycyrrhizin can cause serious health dangers, especially when taken in large amounts, manufacturers of licorice root remedies extract this substance from the herb, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Potential

Licorice root in the whole-herb form that contains glycyrrhizin could have the potential to help treat asthma, coughs and chronic fatigue syndrome when taken orally or treat psoriasis, herpes and eczema when used topically, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The DGL form could help treat stomach ulcers, heartburn, indigestion and mouth sores. Other potential medicinal uses for licorice root include treating constipation, bronchitis, chest congestion and primary adrenocortical insufficiency, notes the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 1. But no widely accepted, conclusive medical research supports the use of licorice root in the DGL or the whole-herb form for any health purpose.

Warning

The major dangers associated with licorice root relate to the whole-herb form that contains glycyrrhizin and not the DGL form, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 1. Still, licorice root may pose dangers to people with kidney or liver disease, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. Whole licorice root can reduce testosterone levels in men, increase a pregnant woman’s risk for premature delivery and even stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 1.

The Wrap Up

Licorice root in the whole-herb form that contains glycyrrhizin could have the potential to help treat asthma, coughs and chronic fatigue syndrome when taken orally or treat psoriasis, herpes and eczema when used topically, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Because glycyrrhizin can cause serious health dangers, especially when taken in large amounts, manufacturers of licorice root remedies extract this substance from the herb, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The major dangers associated with licorice root relate to the whole-herb form that contains glycyrrhizin and not the DGL form, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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