Licorice Root Benefits
Licorice is a plant native to the Mediterranean and Western Asian regions. The root of the licorice plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Chinese medicine has long used licorice root to treat many ailments, including gastrointestinal problems, malaria, insomnia, and infections.
Glycyrrhizin, the most active chemical compound found in licorice, has been studied for its medicinal properties. This powerful phytochemical has been proven to reduce body fat, heal stomach ulcers and fight infections.
Ulcer Treatment and Prevention
Multiple studies have shown that licorice root prevents and treats ulcers. It does this by increasing mucus production in the stomach, soothing the stomach lining. Licorice also increases the blood supply to the stomach, which promotes healing.
Licorice also prevents ulcers from forming in the first place by suppressing gastrin production in the body. Gastrin is a hormone that stimulates gastric acid production, which can lead to ulcer formation.
Two studies have illustrated how licorice root can help in the treatment of certain forms of cancer. Researchers set out to determine if glycyrrhizin had a therapeutic effect on stomach cancer and leukemia. They discovered that glycyrrhizin causes apoptosis (cell death) of stomach cancer and leukemia cells.
This group of researchers then tested glycyrrhetinic acid, a substance in glycyrrhizin, on stomach cancer, leukemia, and liver cancer cells. Once again, the licorice compound suppressed cell growth by causing apoptosis.
Virus and Bacteria Treatment
Several studies have described the antiviral and antibacterial effects of licorice root. Licorice root’s phytochemicals slow down viral replication and hinder bacterial growth.
Specifically, research has shown that licorice root provided antibacterial and antiviral benefits against several microbes, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Candida albicans, as well as viruses like simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Obesity rates continue to rise in the United States, with over 40% of Americans affected by the disorder. Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Licorice root could prove to be a helpful weapon in the fight against obesity.
Therefore, pregnant women should avoid licorice root. Avoid licorice root if you take diuretics. Licorice root can also interfere with Aldactone, a blood pressure medication.
Borrowed from WebMD