What is Licorice? Licorice Root Benefits and Side Effects

What is Licorice? Licorice Root Benefits and Side Effects

Bajaj Finserv Health
April 27, 20225 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Licorice has antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory effects
  • Licorice root benefits include treatment of skin conditions and peptic ulcers
  • You can have it in the form of licorice powder, capsules, tablets, and more

Use of the root of the licorice plant is one of the oldest and most popular herbal remedies. Since it has a sweet flavor, it is also widely used in drinks, candies, and certain medicines. Licorice root is used to treat heartburn, eczema, and ulcers. It is available in various forms such as licorice powder, tablets, capsules, and more. Read more on what is licorice and its health benefits.

Though licorice is generally safe, having too much of it can lead to severe side effects including poisoning. Read on to get a better understanding of licorice root benefits for your health and its side effects.

Licorice Root Benefits

Treats certain skin conditions 

Licorice has over 300 compounds that have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an effective remedy for skin infections caused by bacteria [1]. It can help you treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, cellulitis, and impetigo. You can apply a topical gel that contains extract of licorice root to help manage eczema and acne.

when should not consume Licorice

Eases indigestion and GERD 

Upset stomach, heart burn, acid reflux are common symptoms of indigestion that licorice can help manage and relieve. Having licorice capsules on a regular basis can significantly improve indigestion symptoms.

Other than this, it may also help ease gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This includes symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux. Compared to antacids, daily use of licorice is more effective in relieving GERD and gastric irritation [2].

Additional Read: Digestive Enzymes

Protects against cancer 

Licorice offers antioxidant benefits. Due to this, licorice root extract can help protect you against certain forms of cancer. This is because of Licochalcone-A, a substance found in the extract. It helps effectively reduce the quantity of bcl-2, a protein that is drug resistant. Excess amount of bcl-2 is frequently associated with breast and prostate cancer and leukemia [3]. Apart from this, the extract can also help in treatment of oral mucositis. These are painful mouth sores that are a side effect of radiation and chemotherapy.

Treats peptic ulcer 

Peptic ulcers are sores that form in your lower esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. These are generally a result of inflammation caused by H. pylori bacteria. Licorice root extract can help treat them because of glycyrrhizin present in it and its anti-inflammatory properties. Regularly consuming its extract with your standard treatment can reduce H. pylori [4]. Studies show that calculated doses can help better protect you against peptic ulcer than standard medicines [5].

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Relieves upper respiratory conditions 

Due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, licorice tea and extract can help manage upper respiratory conditions. When added to regular treatment, glycyrrhizin can help you get relief from asthma. It can also help prevent post operative sore throat and strep throat [6].

Licorice root can help slow the progress of chronic bronchitis in people with COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Asiatic, glycyrrhizic, and oleanolic acid found in the root have an antioxidant effect. These acids have a protective effect on bronchial epithelial cells [7].

Prevents cavities 

Among the many licorice root benefits, cavity prevention is one of them. Its root can protect against bacteria that causes tooth decay. Having lollipops containing licorice root can help significantly! They help by reducing the presence of cavity-causing bacteria [8].

Treats Hepatitis C 

Glycyrrhizin can also help in hepatitis C treatment. This an infection that affects your liver. Without proper treatment, it can cause chronic inflammation and liver damage. Glycyrrhizin has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that makes it an effective treatment option against hepatitis C cells [9].

Here are other licorice root benefits for your health: 

  • Aids in diabetes 
  • Relieves symptoms of menopause 
  • Heals Canker sores 
  • Ease discomfort caused by functional dyspepsia 
  • Relieves symptoms of menstruation 
  • Helps in weight loss
Additional Read: Antioxidants and Antioxidant-rich FoodsLicorice

Consult a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist to know what dose of licorice would be best for you. This can protect from the possible side effects of excess consumption. These side effects happen because high intake can lead to glycyrrhizin acid buildup. This may cause an increase in production of cortisol, a stress hormone. This can further lead to an imbalance in the electrolytes and fluids in your body.

The symptoms of these include: 

  • Edema (swelling and fluid retention) 
  • Muscle cramps or weakness 
  • Headache 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Fatigue

Licorice poisoning can lead to severe health conditions such as [10]: 

  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Pulmonary edema 
  • Paralysis 
  • Kidney failure

To add licorice to your diet and avoid overconsumption, contact a doctor. To get doctor consultation with ease from the comfort of your home, book an appointment on Bajaj Finserv Health. You can talk to experienced and qualified doctors to resolve all your health concerns. You can also book various lab tests on the platform to know your health better.  

What is Licorice? Licorice Root Benefits and Side Effects banner
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3870067/
  2. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/INFORMIT.950298610899394
  3. https://www.cancernetwork.com/view/licorice-root-extract-shows-antitumor-activity
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27614124/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4673944/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6783935/
  7. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b00102
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21108917/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3715454/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3498851/

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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