Latin Name: Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn. (Fabaceae)
Sanskrit /Indian Name: Yashti-madhu, Yashti-madhuka, Mulhathi, Jethi-madh
Licorice has an impressive list of well-documented uses. It is used to treat a wide array of illnesses including lowering cholesterol levels, healing respiratory tract disorders and boosting immunity levels. Recent studies have found that by limiting the damage from low density lipoprotein (‘bad’) cholesterol, Licorice may discourage artery-clogging plaque formation and contribute to the healthy functioning of the heart.
In recent times, science has been rediscovering the health benefits of Licorice. Several studies have demonstrated its ulcer-healing abilities. In a 2008 study, scientists found that an adhesive patch medicated with Licorice root extract helped heal canker sores.
The principal constituent of Licorice to which it owes its characteristic sweet taste is glycyrrhizin. Other constituents present in Licorice are glucose, sucrose, mannite, starch, asparagine, bitter principals, resins, a volatile oil and coloring matter, which collectively give Licorice its pharmacological properties.
Key therapeutic benefits:
Licorice lowers stomach acid levels, relieves heartburn and indigestion and prevents ulcer formation.
Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.
In the respiratory system, its soothing and healing action reduces irritation and inflammation.
Licorice enhances immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off viruses.
The phytoestrogens in Licorice have a mild estrogenic effect, making the herb potentially useful in easing certain symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as irritability, bloating and breast tenderness.
Its anti-allergic property is useful in allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma.
When applied topically, Licorice can be used to fight dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.