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How to Use Licorice Root

By Susan Brassard

Valued for its healing qualities since ancient times, herbalists and holistic health practitioners frequently prescribe licorice root for cold symptoms, indigestion, stomach ulcers and canker sores. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is more often prescribed for long-term use and for individuals with chronic disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Although licorice is safe for short-term use, serious side effects can occur with long-term use. As with all herbal remedies, you should consult with your primary care physician before using any amount of licorice root for medicinal purposes.

Drink one cup of licorice tea each day to enhance adrenal function and increase your energy level. Add a teaspoon of organic honey or a cinnamon stick to improve the taste and make the tea more palatable.

Take 300 milligrams to 400 milligrams of chewable deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, 20 minutes before eating to enhance digestion and help to prevent heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Gargle with a solution of licorice root powder and purified water to help relieve the discomfort of a sore throat and mouth sores. Dab a bit of powder on your canker sore to relieve pain and shorten the healing time.

Apply licorice gel to the skin three times a day to treat the painful complications of shingles and prevent the spread of Varicella-zoster, the infectious virus responsible for both shingles and chicken pox.

Look for over-the-counter lotions that contain licorice extract. Apply the topical treatment several times each day to help sooth the irritation of rosacea, psoriasis and other types of dermatitis.

Tips

Limited evidence suggests licorice root may help to reduce body fat, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Warnings

Long-term use of licorice can raise blood pressure, cause water retention and lower potassium levels. Licorice root is unsafe for people who take diuretics, insulin, steroid therapies or MAO inhibitors. Pregnant or lactating women should not take licorice for medicinal purposes.

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