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Nutritional and Health Benefits of Licorice Root

Updated on November 7, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


Liquorice root has been used in making candies, sweets, herbal infusions, soft drinks, liquer and in tobacco products to enhance the flavor and taste.

It is also used as a spice.

Liquorice root stays good for 2 years after harvest. One can suck on a piece of liquorice to obtain its advantages.

Liquorice is available as dried root, tea, tablets, capsules and liquid extracts.

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Liquorice plantLiquorice flower
Liquorice plant
Liquorice plant | Source
Liquorice flower
Liquorice flower | Source

Nutrients In Liquorice

Liquorice contains the following among other nutrients.

  • Glycyrrhizic acid, one the main active constituents.
  • Isoflavones, the plant estrogens.
  • Saponoids,
  • Flavonoids, another active constituent.
  • Sugars and starches.
  • Several amino acids.
  • Gums.
  • Essential oils.
  • Minerals like manganese and phosphorus.
  • Many Bcomplex vitamins.

About the Licorice Plant

Latin Name : Glycyrrhiza glabra

In India, Liquorice is called "Mulethi".

Some other names by which licorice (or liquorice) is known as are : sweet root, Spanish liquorice, peacemaker herb.

Liquorice is the root of the liquorice plant and is native to Asia and Southern Europe. It has a sweet taste and smell. The plant is a herb growing from 3 to 7 feet tall. It grows best in full sunlight.

The aromatic smell is due to the many volatile oils it contains. The sweetness is due to the compound glycyrrhizin, which tastes about 50 times sweeter than sugar.

The roots of the liquorice plant are straight and round, and grow horizontally underground. They are brown on the outside and yellow on the inside. The fresh root has about 50% water while the dried root has about 10% water.

Liquorice has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, and Western medicine. In Ayurveda liquorice has been usedsince ancient times. Its use finds mention in the old Ayurvedic texts like Charak Samhita, Sushruta, Ashtanghvday etc.

Health Benefits Of Liquorice

Liquorice is an amazing herb. Read all about the various health benefits it offers.

  • Checks Cancer

Studies have shown that liquorice controls and reduces the growth of human breast cancer cells and colon cancer cells. Other studies show that it has anti tumor activity. It reduces the toxicity caused by chemotherapy and also prevents tumor cell production.

Liquorice extract helps in cases of chronic prostatitis and prostate cancer.

  • Prevents Diabetes / Maintains Cognitive Function

Liquorice contains an anti diabetic substance amorfrutine that also has anti inflammatory action and helps to reduce blood sugar levels, prevents development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that glabridin protects the nervous functions leading to better memory, learning ability and prevents cognitive decline in diabetics.

Roasted liquorice cures diabetic nephropathy (Kidney damage due to diabetes) as studies indicate.

  • Liver Protective & Antioxidant Effect

Studies show thatliquorice protects liver. It is useful in treating liver disorders and normalizes the liver function as shown by studies due to its glycyrrhiz content.

Another study shows that liquorice possesses an antioxidant flavonoid that protects liver cells from high fat diet induced effects and oxidative damage.

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Fibromyalgia

Liquorice improves the function of the adrenal glands so that it can produce cortisol in times of stress.

Liquorice is beneficial in people who have been taking steroids for a long time on medical grounds. Long term use of steroids has a suppressive action on the adrenal glands and liquorice counters this suppression. It helps to reduce stress post surgery and the glycyrrhizinic acid reduces symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

  • Treats Canker Sores

Canker sores are small ulcer like lesions inside the mouth and on the gums.Liquorice has treated recurrent cases of canker sores. It has been reported to have effectively reduced inflammation and pain and healed canker soresas studies indicate.

  • Peptic Ulcer

It has been shown in studies thatdeglycyrrhizinized licorice treats gastric ulcers effectively. It also does not cause side effects like edema, hypertension, weight gain or electrolye imbalance.

  • Maintains Dental Health

Liquorice extract prevents and treats cavities and gingivitis, prevents plaque formation on the teeth. Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice has antimicrobial action against Streptococcus mutans and prevents biofilm and plaque formation, as has been confirmed by studies.

Its extracts are used in toothpastes and mouthwashes for this reason.

  • Prevents Atherosclerosis

Studies show that the antioxidants in liquorice keep blood cholesterol levels healthy by reducing LDL cholesterol.

  • Benefits In Rheumatoid Arthritis

Liquorice has anti inflammatory properties and hence provides relief in swelling and pain of rheumatoid arthritis as indicated bystudies.

  • Fights Depression

Liquorice in studies has shown to fight pre and post menoupausal depression and hot flushesin women as it contains beta carotene, flavonoids and minerals.

  • Corrects Female Fertlity Issues

Infertility due to hormonal disturbances like polycystic ovary is corrected by taking liquorice tea.

Liquorice regulates secretion of estrogen and helps to treat female fertility.

Liquorice reduces serum testosterone levels in females and thereby treats polycystic ovary problems and hirsutism.

  • Raises Immunity Levels

Liquorice raises the levels of interferon and boosts immunity thus combating infections by virus and bacteria like Influenza A.

  • Menopause And PMS

Studies indicate that liquorice treats symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome. It helps to maintain the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body.

Studies also show that liquorice reduces nocturnal hot flushes and improves the psychological and physical health of women undergoing menopause.

  • HIV Infection

Studies show that glycyrrhizin in liquorice checks the proliferation of HIV virus and also prevents the destruction of white blood cells and strengthens immunity.

  • Checks Obesity

Liquorice and its extract prevents obesity. Liquorice oil reduces abdominal fat and triglyceride levels.

  • Treats Tuberculosis

Studies show that liquorice treats pulmonary tuberculosis and helps in faster healing.

Another study shows that liquorice also treats lung infections.

  • Benefits Skin

Studies indicate that liquorice heals the skin and can usefully treat skin infections like psoriasis, eczema and athletes foot. It reduces swelling and itching. Liquorice also protects the skin against the UV rays induced erythema, reduces redness and inflammation.

  • Treats Various Infections

Liquorice is anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti viral and prevents growth of herpes virus.

It also protects people with herpes virus infection from getting herpes cancer.

Liquorice fights the virus which causes both shingles and chicken pox.

  • Treats Respiratory Disorders

Liquorice treats cough, cold, sore throat, bronchitis even emphysema. It helps in removal of mucus and relaxes bronchial spasms.

Studies show that liquorice opens constricted airways and benefits in asthma.

  • Has Detox Effect

As per studies, Liquorice detoxifies the blood and removes toxins from the body. It also possesses laxative effects

  • Treats Hepatitis Infection

Liquorice is useful in treating chronic hepatitis B virus infections. It also improves the liver function.

  • Benefits In Low Blood Pressure

Licorice helps to normalize blood pressure by preventing the breakdown of cortisol which is one of the causes for low blood pressure

Licorice also,improves digestion by preventing the growth of H.pylori bacteria, cures dyspepsia and improves digestion.reduces oil secretion, prevents dandruff in hair and also stimulates hair growth

Some Precautions & Side Effects

Those suffering from high blood pressure, liver disease, low potassium levels, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, hormone sensitive cancers, fluid retention, edema etc, should not consume liquorice.

It is also contraindicated in those who take digoxin based drugs, ACE inhibitors, corticosteroids, insulin or diabetes drugs, diuretics, warfarin, laxatives, medicines processed by the liver etc.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid it.

Liquorice may interact/interfere with several medications.

Some side effects of liquorice are :

Headaches, elevated BP, edema, shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular menses, kidney disorders. It can affect levels of testosterone in men.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice causes fewer side effects.

Always consult your doctor before consuming liquorice.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.



Herbal Medicine & Home Remedies : Benefits of Licorice Root

Low Blood Sugar - Natural Ayurvedic Home Remedies

Liquorice Root मुलेठी (In Hindi)

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Devika - Thanks for the visit and comments.

      @ moronkee - i'm not aware whether it grows in Ghana or not. But you can always get the dried roots anywhere. Thanks for stopping by.

      @ Marlene - these different colored liquorice sticks are basically candy which is not the real thing. At the most some have liquorice extract added to the candy. Thanks for visitng.

      @ moonlake - thanks for the visit and support.

      @ Anthony - Thanks and glad you like the info.

    • Anthony Binks profile image

      Anthony Binks 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Crikkey Liquorice has a lot of good benefits. I love it but the wife can't stand it, now that I know it is fairly good for you I will be getting her to eat some more.

      Nice Hub.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I've always like licorice candies but never thought about where it came from. Interesting hub voted up.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Wow! I didn't know licorice had so many benefits and I did not know licorice came in so many colors. The only colors I have ever seen are red and black.

    • moronkee profile image

      Moronke Oluwatoyin 4 years ago

      I don't know if the picture of liquorice is similar to the one I use as chewing stick.It really does cure toothache.

      Is it grown in West Africa?

      Thanks for writing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I like licorice but had no idea of the many benefits, I am always interested in learning something new thanks for this information. Voted Up!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Carol - we do not get red licorice here and from what I've read it seems it is a variety of red colored candy that is called red licorice and rarely contains licorice extract.

      Thanks for visiting.

      @ Graham - I'm glad you like the info. Thanks.

      @ Margaret - nice to know you like the info. Thank you.

      @ younghopes - thanks for the info. I'll check out the link.

      @ Bill - thanks, my friend.

      @ wetnosedogs - maybe you could check on that but you could always get the dried roots. Thanks for sparing time to read.

      @ bdegiulio - thanks for visiting.

      @ Joe - thank you for reading my hubs regularly.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Very well done, my friend! I can't wait to tell my wife about the health benefits licorice has. She loves licorice but, like me, probably had no clue that it had so many medicinal qualities.

      Thank you for sharing!

      Best regards,


    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi rajan. Very interesting. Was not aware of all of the health benefits of liquorice. I learned something new today. Thanks.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Oh, I wonder if licorice would grow in the south here. That would be an awesome plant to have.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The information on the side effects was very interesting. I love licorice and fortunately I do not have high blood pressure, so I'll keep right on eating it. Thanks for the great facts.

    • younghopes profile image

      Shadaan Alam 4 years ago from India

      a pleasure to read such an indepth and well researched article. You really write it to the fullest, i have heard that it is also effective in treating baldness issues also. On yet another note, i just wish to inform you that one of your link is showing a wrong heading: Health Benefits Of Karela Or Bitter Melon is shown twice though one of the links is on sunflower seeds. Please do check that,

      thanks for article, voted up!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I didn't know that licorice has any health benefits, and I was surprised at how many things it can be used for. Very thorough and well written hub - voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi rajan. I seem only to repeat myself, another first class hub in presentation and massive informative content. Your videos add much to your text. The links enclosed are exceptional.

      Voted up and all.


    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      most interesting and never knew of health benefits. However I really like red licorice..does that count? Thanks for doing great research as always and have a healthy day. Voting up and sharing.