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Licorice Root

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Licorice information, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains information and frequently asked questions about licorice as well as a complete list of products containing licorice.

What is licorice and what does it do?

The flavorful herb Licorice, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, has been used in medicinal and food remedies for years. It is also known as a sweet root, because the root of the licorice contains an element that is somewhere near 50 times sweeter than sugar. Both Eastern and Western medicines have used licorice for treatment of a variety of illnesses, anything from the common cold to treating disease of the liver.

Licorice has been used as a demulcent, also known as a soothing, coating agent, in addition to being used as an expectorant. Expectorants are used by doctors to rid phlegm and mucous from the respiratory tract. Licorice is also used by medical professionals to help fight ailments that affect the respiratory system, such as allergies, colds, tuberculosis, sore throats, and bronchitis.

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What are the benefits of taking licorice?

The root from licorice is commonly used to prevent as well as treat stomach ulcers. As a matter of fact, European and Asian medical professionals use the root to treat a synthetic form produced by the licorice for stomach ulcers. And while this drug is not available for use in the United States, health care practitioners located there use DGL, or degllycrrhizinated licorice to help combat gastric ulcers and receive positive results from it. DGL is simply a licorice supplement that has the glycrrhizin (increases blood pressure) component removed.

Some other studies are being released and suggesting that licorice may have some role in the treating of heart disease. One study in particular showed that people with high cholesterol encountered a drastic reduction in LDL, or bad cholesterol, as well as levels of triglycerides after supplementing with the licorice root extracts for only one month. The licorice extract was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by approximately 10%, while increasing blood pressure in others. Once licorice supplementation stopped, blood pressure levels subsided.

The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, may also be affected by licorice according to more recent studies. A study involving three people inflicted with HIV showed that intravenous glycyrrhizin may stop the reproduction of HIV. However, larger studies involving more individuals have yet to replicate these findings. Japanese test tubes have found that glycyrrizin, the component found in licorice, prevented the growth of Japanese encephalitis virus.

Yet another study has shown that supplementing licorice may have the ability to reduce body fat. The study involved measuring the body fat mass for subjects before and after the test, with subjects consuming licorice in quantities of 3.5 grams a day for 2 months. Licorice also displayed the ability to lower fat mass and stifle the hormone aldosterone.

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Who can benefit from taking licorice?

Individuals that suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and a variety of other symptoms that licorice can help treat.

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How much licorice should I take?

For children, supplement of licorice can be provided by chewing or through licorice tea. Children’s dosages should be approximated by taking the adult dosage of licorice and adjusting it for the child’s weight. Typically, most dosages for herbs that apply to adults are calculated on the basis of a weight of 150 pounds for an adult. That means if a child weighs 50 pounds, the dosage of licorice for the child should be 1/3 of adult dosage.

Adults when supplementing licorice root can take the following proportions:

  • Dried root: 1 to 5 grams boiled, three times a day
  • Standardized extract: 250 to 500 milligrams three times a day
  • DGL extract: .4 to 1.6 grams three times a day, usually for a peptic ulcer

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Does licorice have any side effects?

Herbs like licorice normally contain elements that have the ability to trigger certain side effects. They can also negatively impact and interact with other herbs, supplements, and medications. Because of the possible risk of side effect sand interactions, herbs should be taken only under the guidance of al licensed medical professional.

Consumption and supplementation can cause serious side effects. Glycycyrrhizin can cause a condition known as pseudoaldosteronism, a condition which is described as an individual that becomes sensitive to a particular home located in the adrenal cortex. This condition has been known to cause headaches, high blood pressure, fatigue, and even heart attacks.

And while the above side effects derive from taking too much licorice, side effects are able to occur with only a normal amount of licorice. Some individuals can experience pain in the muscles or even numbness in the arms and legs. Licorice may also begin to cause weight gain.

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