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.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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.
What Is Fucoidan?
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.
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.
- 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.
Side Effects of Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice
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.
What Is Fucoidan?
Side Effects of Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice
How Much EPA & DHA Are in Chia Seeds?
Halva Nutrition Information
Side Effects of Chicory Root Extract
How to Relieve a Sore Mouth From the Side Effects of Amoxicillin
Side Effects of Licorice While Breastfeeding
Kenalog Injection Vs. Cortisone Injection
How to Use Dried Ginseng Root
Triphala for Children
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Licorice
- NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Licorice root. Updated December 1, 2016.
- Raveendra KR, Jayachandra, Srinivasa V, et al. An extract of glycyrrhiza glabra (GutGard)alleviates symptoms of functional dyspepsia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;2012:1-9. doi:10.1155/2012/216970
- Messier C, Epifano F, Genovese S, Grenier D. Licorice and its potential beneficial effects in common oro-dental diseases. Oral Dis. 2012;18(1):32-39. doi:10.1111/j.1601-0825.2011.01842.x
- Shi Q, Hou Y, Yang Y, Bai G. Protective effects of glycyrrhizin against β2-adrenergic receptor agonist-induced receptor internalization and cell apoptosis. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2011;34(5):609-617. doi:10.1248/bpb.34.609
- Tsao S, Yin M. Antioxidative and antiinflammatory activities of asiatic acid, glycyrrhizic Acid, and oleanolic acid in human bronchial epithelial cells. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2015;63(12):3196-3204.
- Zhao H, Zhang X, Chen X, et al. Isoliquiritigenin, a flavonoid from licorice, blocks M2 macrophage polarization in colitis-associated tumorigenesis through downregulating PGE2 and IL-6. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2014;279(3):311-321. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2014.07.001
- Nahidi F, Zare E, Mojab F, Alavi-Majd H. Effects of licorice on relief and recurrence of menopausal hot flashes. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: IJPR. 2012;11(2):541-8.
- Hajiaghamohammadi AA, Zargar A, Oveisi S, Samimi R, Reisian S. To evaluate of the effect of adding licorice to the standard treatment regimen of helicobacter pylori. The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2016;20(6):534-538. doi: 10.1016/j.bjid.2016.07.015
- Irani M, Sarmadi M, Bernard F, Ebrahimi Pour GH, Shaker Bazarnov H. Leaves antimicrobial activity of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: IJPR. 2010;9(4):425-8.
- Penn State Hershey Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Licorice.
- Omar HR, Komarova I, El-Ghonemi M, et al. Licorice abuse: time to send a warning message. Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology. 2012;3(4):125-138. doi:10.1177/2042018812454322
- Räikkönen K, Martikainen S, Pesonen A, et al. Maternal licorice consumption during pregnancy and pubertal, cognitive, and psychiatric outcomes in children. Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(5):317-328. doi:10.1093/aje/kww172
- Consumer Reports. Food and drug interactions you need to know about. Updated November 4, 2018.
- Winchester Hospital. Library. Updated April 11, 2011.
- Consumer Reports. How to choose supplements wisely. Updated October 30, 2019.
- FDA. Black licorice: Trick or treat? Updated November 6, 2017.
Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.