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Liquorice

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  • Botanical: Glycyrrhiza glabra
  • Family: Fabaceae
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Liquorice

Botanical

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Family

Fabaceae

Known as

Licorice, Lakritze, Süßholz

Old Use

medical, culinary, industry

Collection Times

autumn

Parts Used

roots

Aroma

sweet

Medicinal

abdominal pain, allergies, antiseptic, asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, bladder disease, bladder stones, bladder weakness, bronchitis, circulation, colds, constipation, coughs, cramps stomach, high blood preasure, laxative, liver weakness, joint inflammation, joint pain, rheumatism, stomach pain, skin rashes, urination, urinary infections

Hormone & Sexual Organs

herpes

Infection & Inflammation

mouth inflammation, mouth sores, pyelonephritis, skin inflammation

Muscle & Joints

arthritis, joint inflammation, joint pain, rheumatism

Respiratory System

allergies, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, cough, whooping cough

Stomach & Intestinal

bladder disease, bladder stones, bladder weakness, constipation, digestion, gastric inflammation, laxative, liver weakness, urination, urinary infections

Skin & Hair

eczema, shingles

Properties

antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, diuretic, expectorant, tonic

Description

It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 cm (3–6 in) long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm (1/3 to 1/2 in) long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 cm (1 in) long, containing several seeds. The roots are stoloniferous.

Properties & Uses

Liquorice his one of the most commonly used herbs in Western herbal medicine and has a very long history of use, both as a medicine and also as a flavouring to disguise the unpleasant flavour of other medications. It is a very sweet, moist, soothing herb that detoxifies and protects the liver and is also powerfully anti-inflammatory, being used in conditions as varied as arthritis and mouth ulcers. The root is alterative, antispasmodic, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, moderately pectoral and tonic. The root has also been shown to have a hormonal effect similar to the ovarian hormone. Liquorice root is much used in cough medicines and also in the treatment of catarrhal infections of the urinary tract. It is taken internally in the treatment of Addison's disease, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, peptic ulcer, arthritis, allergic complaints and following steroidal therapy. It should be used in moderation and should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with high blood pressure, kidney disease or taking digoxin-based medication. Prolonged usage raises the blood pressure and causes water retention. See also the notes above on toxicity. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema and shingles. The root is harvested in the autumn when 3 - 4 years old and is dried for later use.

Other Uses

The plant yields a substance that is used for etching steel sections in photomicrographic work. Extracts from the root are used as a foaming agent in beers and fire extinguishers. A fibre obtained from the roots is used for insulation, wallboard, boxboard etc. The fibres can be used after the medicinal and flavouring constituents of the root have been removed.

Root - raw or used as a flavouring. The source of liquorice powder that is extracted and used in sweets, baked goods, ice cream, soft drinks etc, it is also used medicinally. A sweet and delicious flavour, but the root is very fibrous. The root contains glycyrrhizin, a substance that is 50 times sweeter than sucrose. The dried root is often used for chewing, it is excellent for teething children and also as a tooth cleaner. A tea made from the roots is an excellent thirst quencher. The powdered root is also used as a sweetener in other herb teas. The leaves are used as a tea substitute in Mongolia

Cautions

A gross overdose of the root can cause oedema, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Do not use during premenstrual syndrome as water retention and bloating occur. If pregnant or have liver cirrhosis use with caution. Avoid using for more than 6 weeks. Excessive quantities may cause headache, sluggishness and potassium depletion

Distribution

The liquorice plant is a legume native to southern Europe, India, and parts of Asia.

Constituents

The scent of liquorice root comes from a complex and variable combination of compounds, of which anethole is up to 3% of total volatiles. Much of the sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizin, which has a sweet taste, 30–50 times the sweetness of sugar. The sweetness is very different from sugar, being less instant, tart, and lasting longer. The isoflavene glabrene and the isoflavane glabridin, found in the roots of liquorice, are phytoestrogens

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.