• Licorice Root

    Synonyms: Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Gan Tsao, Glycyrrhiza, Glycyrrhizae Radix, Italian Licorice, Kan Tsao, Kum Cho, Licorice, Liquiritiae Radix, Liquorice, Persian Licorice, Russian Licorice, Spanish Licorice, Sweet Root, Sweetwood, Turkish Licorice

    Family: Leguminosae

    Genus species: Glycyrrhiza glabra var. typica (Spanish or Italian Licorice), Glycyrrhiza glabra var. violacea (Persian or Turkish Licorice), Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Chinese Licorice), Glycyrrhiza glabra var. glandulifera (Russian Licorice), Glycyrrhiza echinata

    Type: Perennial shrub

    Part Used: Root and stolon

    Location: Afghanistan, Arabia, Asia Minor, China, former U.S.S.R., Iran, Mediterranean region, Siberia, Syria, Turkestan, Turkey

    Actions: Abortifacient, adrenal gland alterative, adrenocorticotropic, alexeteric, aldosterone synergist, alterative, anodyne, antiallergic, antibacterial, anticoagulant (inhibits platelet activity), antifungal, antihepatotoxic, anti-HIV, antihypercholesterolemic, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory (glycyrrhizin), antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiphlogistic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, antituberculotic, antitumor, antitussive, antiulcer, antiviral, aphrodisiac, bacteriostatic, bowel cleanser, cholagogue, cortisone or ACTH-like action with less toxic effects than cortisone or ACTH, demulcent, deodorant, depurative, detoxifier, emollient, emmenagogue (high doses), estrogenic activity (licorice inhibits estrogen metabolism if estrogen levels are high, and potentiates estrogen metabolism when estrogen levels are low), expectorant, flavoring agent, galactogogue, hypertensive (glycyrrhizin), inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone resulting in higher levels of testosterone, liver alterative, mild laxative, mineralocorticoid activity, monoamine oxidase inhibitor, pectoral, powerful immunostimulant (stimulates the production of interferon), respiratory alterative, secretagogue, secretolytic, sedative, spasmolytic, spleen alterative, stimulates hydrocortisone production

    Indications: Abdominal pain, abscess, Addison's disease, age spots, alcohol poisoning, anorexia, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, atropine poisoning, Bacillus subtilus, belladonna poisoning, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), boil, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion, bronchitis, burns, cancer, candidiasis, carbuncle, catarrh, chloral hydrate poisoning, chronic gastritis, circulatory disorders, cocaine poisoning, colic, colitis, common cold, constipation, contact dermatitis, cough, Datura (thorn apple) poisoning, debility, diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, difficulty breathing, diphtheria, diverticulosis, dizziness, dropsy, drug poisoning, duodenal ulcer, dyspepsia, Epstein-Barr virus, excessive thirst, fever, gastric ulcer, gastritis, globefish poisoning, hay fever, heart palpitation, heartburn, hemorrhoids, hepatitis B (glycyrrhizin), HIV infection, hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia, hypotension, indigestion, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, laryngitis, liver disorders, malaria, menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, Mycobacterium smegmatis, nausea, peptic ulcer, pharyngitis, polyuria, rheumatism, skin rash, snakebite, sore throat, Staphylococcus aureus, stress, tetanus, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton rubrum, tuberculosis, used as an adjunct in long-term cortisone treatment which enables the steroid dose and hence the side effects to be considerably reduced, vertigo, Vibrio cholerae

    Chemicals & Nutrients: Aluminum, Asparagine, beta-Sitosterol, Calcium, Carbohydrates (77%), Cobalt, Fats (1%), Fiber (8%), Glucose, Iron, Lecithin, Lignin, Magnesium, Pectin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein (11%), Silicon, Sodium, Sucrose (6%), Vitamin C

    Preparation & Dosages: (do not use longer than 6 weeks)

    Decoction: 2-8 g, in 2-3 doses

    Dried Root: dose 1-5 g, 3x/day (up to 6 weeks)

    Infusion: 8-10 g in one liter

    Tincture: 1:5 in 50% alcohol, dose; 3-60 drops up to 3x/day

    Note: Contains compounds that inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone resulting in higher levels of testosterone.

    Contraindications: Cardiovascular disorders, cardiac glycosides, cholestatic liver disorders, cirrhosis, diabetes, heart disease, hormone replacement therapy, hypertension, hypertonia, hypokalemia, kidney insufficiency, lactation, liver disorders, oral contraceptives, patients using digoxin-based drugs, pregnancy.

    Drug Interactions: May potentiate potassium depletion caused by thiazide diuretics and stimulant laxatives. Potentiates cardiotonic drugs. May potentiate antidiabetic (hypoglycemic) drugs. Interferes with hypoglycemic drugs and hormone therapy. May potentiate anticoagulants. Since glycyrrhizin has a mineralocorticoid effect, licorice may reduce plasma-aspirin concentrations. Mineralocorticoid effect may also increase the side effects of corticosteroids, including water and sodium retention. Use of this herb may interfere with and/or reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives and sex hormones. Preparations of this herb may antagonize antihypertensive drugs and nitrates and calcium-channel blockers, and when combined with sympathomimetics there is an increased risk of hypertension.

    Side Effects: (Possible adverse effects and/or overdose effects) Overdose can cause: swelling of the face and limbs, electrolyte imbalance, hypertension, shortness of breath.

    Warning: Glycyrrhiza should be prescribed in neutral or alkaline solution. It is more effective when taken before food. Large doses over a prolonged period may result in hypokalemia. The potassium intake should be increased. Persons with cardiac problems and or hypertension should avoid consumption of significant quantities. Increases fluid and sodium retention and promoted potassium depletion. Because of the increased loss of potassium the action of cardiotonic drugs may be potentiated. Due to the mineralocorticoid effect of glycyrrhizin, licorice root taken in excessive amounts can cause metabolic disturbances known as pseudoaldosteronism, leading to potassium depletion, sodium retention, edema, hypertension and weight gain. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is reported to be free from adverse effects listed above.

    Safety: GRAS.

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