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Licorice

Plant Part Used

Root

Introduction

Licorice originated in the Mediterranean and Middle East and has been used medicinally and as a flavoring agent since at least 500 B.C. It has been used traditionally for fatigue (in the case of adrenal gland insufficiency), (1) as an expectorant, (2) in gastrointestinal distress (particularly of benefit in ulcers), (3) , (4) , (5) and in inflammation. (6) , (7) Licorice is used to flavor a wide variety of candies, gum, tobacco products, and beverages.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions


Depletions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

250-500mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day
-OR-
15-30 drops of a liquid extract (1:4w/v), 3 times a day in favorite beverage.

DGL licorice: 250-500mg, 3 times a day; products should be chewed for optimal results.

Tea: One cup of hot water over one teaspoonful of herb after each meal. (8)

Most Common Dosage

250mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day
-OR-
15-30 drops of a liquid extract (1:4w/v), 3 times a day in favorite beverage.

DGL licorice: 250mg, 3 times a day; products should be chewed for optimal results.

Tea: One cup of hot water over one teaspoonful of herb after each meal.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 12-20% glycyrrhizin per dose (also known as glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhizinic acid); DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) standardized to no greater than 1-2% glycyrrhizin per dose. Licorice supplements can be purchased in two forms. Regular licorice products with a glycyrrhizin (also known as glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhizinic acid)content usually of 12-20%, and then deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), with a glycyrrhizin content usually not greater than 1-2%. The DGL product is recommended for peptic ulcer disease (chewable only) and those individuals susceptible to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. The products with a higher glycyrrhizin content are used as expectorants and for adrenal stress.

Reported Uses

Studies suggest that licorice has a supportive effect on the functions of the adrenal gland. This may result from its ability to help regulate the production of one of the chief steroids produced by the adrenal gland, cortisol. (9)

Other studies have found that licorice may inhibit the chemical processes that lead to inflammation in the body. What’s more, licorice may also stimulate the production of antibodies and may therefore boost the body’s immunity to viral and bacterial invaders. (10) , (11) , (12) , (13)

Licorice has also been used as an expectorant. This is due to its ability to stimulate mucous production in the throat. (14) These benefits are related to licorice’s application in the treatment of stomach ulcers. According to research, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, has the ability to protect the irritated mucous membranes of the stomach lining and reduce symptoms of stomach ulcers. (15) , (16)

Licorice root has demonstrated the ability to protect the liver from certain damaging chemicals. (17) These protective capabilities are reported to be due to antioxidant effects. (18) , (19) , (20)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

Health Conditions

If you have hypertension, (21) kidney (22) or liver problems, (23) talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. The non-DGL form of this dietary supplement may cause increased blood pressure, potassium loss, weakness and edema. (24) , (25) , (26) It is safest to use a DGL form of licorice to avoid these side effects. Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away. (27)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Gibson MR. Glycyrrhiza in Old and New Perspectives. Lloydia. 1978;41(4):348-54.
  2. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium. Dorset, England: Bournemouth; 1992:145-48.
  3. Wilson JA. A Comparison of Carbenoxolone Sodium and Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice in the Treatment of Gastric Ulcer in the Ambulant Patient. Br J Clin Pract. 1972;26:563-66.
  4. View Abstract: Van Marle J, et al. Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice (DGL) and the Renewal of Rat Stomach Epithelium. European Journal of Pharmacology. 1981;72:219-25.
  5. View Abstract: Morgan AG, et al. Comparison between Cimetidin and Caved-S in the Treatment of Gastric Laceration, and Subsequent Maintenance Therapy. Gut. 1982;23:545-51.
  6. Tangri KK, et al. Biochemical Study of Anti-inflammatory and Anti-arthritic Properties of Glycyrrhetic Acid. Biochemical Pharmacology. 1965;14:1277-81.
  7. View Abstract: Akamatsu H, et al. Mechanism of Anti-inflammatory Action of Glycyrrhizin: Effect on Neutrophil Functions Including Reactive Oxygen Species Generation. Planta Medica. 1991;57:119-21.
  8. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:473.
  9. View Abstract: MacKenzie MA, et al. The Influence of Glycyrrhetinic Acid on Plasma Cortisol and Cortisone in Healthy Young Volunteers. J Clin Endocrin Metab. 1990;70:1637-43.
  10. Kimura Y, et al. Effects of Chalcones Isolated from Licorice Roots on Leukotriene Biosynthesis in Human Polymorphonuclear Neutrophils. Phytotherapy Res. 1988;2:140-45.
  11. View Abstract: Shinada M, et al. Enhancement of Interferon-gamma Production in Glycyrrhizin-Treated Human Peripheral Lymphocytes in Response to Concanavalin A and to Surface Antigen of Hepatitis B Virus. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1986;181(2):205-10.
  12. Abe N, et al. Interferon Induction by Glycyrrhizin and Glycyrrhetinic Acid in Mice. Microbiol Immunol. 1982;26:535-39.
  13. View Abstract: Li W, Asada Y, Yoshikawa T. Antimicrobial Flavonoids from Glycyrrhiza glabra Hairy Root Cultures. Planta Med. Dec1998;64(8):746-7.
  14. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium. Dorset, England: Bournemouth; 1992:145-48.
  15. View Abstract: Van Marle J, et al. Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice (DGL) and the Renewal of Rat Stomach Epithelium. European Journal of Pharmacology. 1981;72:219-25.
  16. View Abstract: Van Marle J, et al. Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice (DGL) and the Renewal of Rat Stomach Epithelium. European Journal of Pharmacology. 1981;72:219-25.
  17. Kiso Y, et al. Mechanism of Antihepatotoxic Activity of Glycyrrhizin. I: Effect on Free Radical Generation and Lipid Peroxidation. Planta Med. Aug1984;50(4):298-302.
  18. View Abstract: Luper S. A Review of Plants Used in the Treatment of Liver Disease: Part Two. Altern Med Rev. Jun1999;4(3):178-88.
  19. View Abstract: Konovalova GG, et al. Antioxidant Activity of Parapharmaceutics Containing Natural Inhibitors of Free Radical Processes. Bull Exp Biol Med. Jul2000;130(7):658-60.
  20. View Abstract: Haraguchi H, et al. Protection of Mitochondrial functions against oxidative stresses by isoflavans from Glycyrrhiza glabra. J Pharm Pharmacol. Feb2000;52(2):219-23.
  21. View Abstract: Folkersen L. Licorice. A basis for precautions one more time! Ugeskr Laeger. Dec1996;158(51):7420-1.
  22. View Abstract: Folkersen L. Licorice. A basis for precautions one more time! Ugeskr Laeger. Dec1996;158(51):7420-1.
  23. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:473.
  24. View Abstract: Epstein MT, et al. Effect of Eating Liquorice on the Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone Axis in Normal Subjects. Br Med J. 1977;1:488-90.
  25. View Abstract: Takeda R, et al. Prolonged Pseudoaldosteronism Induced by Glycyrrhizin. Endocrinology Japan. 1979;26(5):541-47.
  26. Farese RV, et al. Licorice-induced Hypermineralocorticoidism. New England J Med. 1991;325:1223-27.
  27. Glick L. Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice for Peptic Ulcer. Lancet. 1982;2(8302):817.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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