Licorice root also known as licorice, licorice, sweet root and gan ZAO-is largely cultivated in Greece, Turkey and Asia. Licorice root contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is most beneficial part of licorice root. Licorice root has been used traditionally in both Western and Eastern parts of the world. It is important to note that licorice root is not the same as licorice candy, which often contains little or no licorice root and is usually flavored by aniseed
Some clinical trials have determined that glycyrrhizin can reduce complications in hepatitis C patients. Some traditional doctors, however, are skeptical that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that glycyrrhizin is a viable option for hepatitis C patients. There is also little evidence from clinical trials that licorice root is beneficial for ulcers.
Licorice root is available in many forms. It can be peeled and dried to powder or come into capsules, tablets or liquid extracts. It is also available without glycyrrhizin. This product is called deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL.
Licorice root is used by herbalists to treat ulcers, bronchitis and sore throat. It can also be used to treat viral infections.
Much like St. John’s Wort contains licorice root antidepressant compounds. Herbalists recommend licorice root as an alternative to St. John’s wort, but is long-term use is not recommended
One of the most advantageous compounds of licorice root is glycyrrhizin or glycyrrhetinic acid. . It is this acid containing antiviral agents. It has been shown to inactivate herpes simplex virus as well as to promote resistance to candida. However, glycyrrhizin has been shown to cause more side effects. It is for this reason that licorice root should not be used continuously for more than four to six weeks.
Whole licorice root dosage is 5 to 15 milligrams daily. Prolonged use at these levels is not recommended. Users should be monitored by a physician.
The usual dose of deglycyrrhizinated licorice are two to four 380 mg capsules daily. The capsules should be taken before eating and at bedtime. DGL is much safer to use than the whole licorice.
The glycyrrhizin in licorice root when taken in large quantities can cause high blood pressure, fluid retention and heart problems.
Licorice root should not be taken with diuretics or drugs that reduce potassium levels. Taking licorice root with these drugs can cause low potassium levels, which can be fatal.
Prolonged use of licorice root can affect hormone levels of cortisol. This can cause interference with steroid drugs such as prednisone.
Women who are pregnant should avoid taking licorice root supplements because they can cause premature birth.
Always consult a doctor before taking any additional medication.