Licorice Root

Latin name: Radix glycyrrhizae, Glycyrrhiza uralensis
Chinese name: gan cao
Other name: Chinese licorice

What is Licorice Root?
Licorice is a popular root among many cultures. It has a distinct sweet flavor that can be found in candies, cakes, and teas. The word licorice comes from the Greek word glykyrrhiza, which means “sweet root.” It is mainly cultivated in Europe, but the uralensis species is specific to China and used extensively in traditional Chinese herbal formulas.

What are the health benefits of Licorice Root?
One major action licorice performs is the harmonization of other harsh herbs in traditional Chinese herbal formulas that may be harder to digest. In its powdered form, licorice root is an effective expectorant, helping a person to cough up fluids that are lingering in the lungs from a cold. It also works to fight stomach ulcers and intestinal dysfunctions such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, and ileitis. Two constituents in the root known as glycyrrhizinic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid promote increased mucus secretion in the gastrointestinal tract while decreasing acid production. These acids also inhibit H. Pylori, which is a bacterium proven to cause stomach ulcers. Licorice root is an adaptogen and can be used to treat disorders of the immune system including lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and animal dander allergies.

Are there any precautions for taking Licorice Root?

People who are taking licorice root extract regularly should avoid overdose as this can cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure and edema. These large doses are considered toxic to the cardiovascular system and the liver.

Where can I find Licorice Root?

Licorice root comes in the raw form both prepared in honey and unprepared. It is also sold in the form of powders, extract granules, tinctures, and teas. It can be found online, or in herbalist and health food stores.

You can find this herb combined with other herbs in the Traditions of Tao formulas:
Chest Congestion, which alleviates congestion due to the common cold and flu.
Emotional Tranquility Tea, which settles the mind and soothes the emotions.
Mood Elevation, which is used to relieve sadness and depression, and calm the mind.
Sleep, which is used to support a healthy nervous system, soothe and calm an anxious mind, and promote sleep.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.