Liquorice (Sweet Root) – Health Benefits, Side Effects



Liquorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavour can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, such as India. It is not botanically related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are sources of similar flavouring compounds. These flavours are used as candies or sweeteners, particularly in some European and Middle Eastern countries.

Liquorice extracts have been used in herbalism and traditional medicine. Excessive consumption of liquorice may result in adverse effects, such as hypokalemia, increased blood pressure, and muscle weakness.

Liquorice History

The word “licorice” refers to the root of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra. It’s native to Europe and Asia. The plant is actually classified as a weed in those areas.

The early Egyptians loved licorice root. They used it in tea as a cure-all concoction. Licorice was later imported to China where it became an important herb in Chinese medicinal tradition.


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Health Benefits

For Skin

It makes the skin look fairer by brightening its color. You can prepare a face mask by mixing turmeric powder and fuller’s earth with licorice tea. Apply the pack on your skin and allow it to dry. Rinse off the face pack with normal water. To keep the skin hydrated, you can add a few drops of coconut oil, olive oil or almond oil to it.

Also helps to fade blemishes and dark spots. The consistent use of licorice tea helps to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized from within. Antioxidants present in licorice extract help the skin to combat the conditions caused by free radicals. Another ingredient known as licochalcone found in licorice tea helps in regulating oil formation on the skin.

For Hair

It helps to promote the health of the scalp, and takes care of the hair due to the presence of such elements. Tablets and capsules incorporating licorice root are consumed to improve the growth of the hair and reduce hair loss. Rinsing the hair with licorice root helps in treating dandruff. The amazing demulcent properties of licorice help in soothing the scalp by reducing various scalp conditions like scabs and dandruff.

For Dental

It offers effective treatment for dental conditions, such as gingivitis. The antimicrobial property present in licorice inhibits the production of dental plaques. Due to such qualities, licorice is used in the manufacturing of oral hygiene products, such as mouthwashes and toothpastes.

For Stomach

It is used to soothe gastrointestinal problems. In cases of food poisoning, stomach ulcers, and heartburn, licorice root extract can speed the repair of stomach lining and restore balance. This is due to the anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of glycyrrhizic acid.

For Respiratory System

Taking licorice as an oral supplement can help the body produce healthy mucus. Increasing phlegm production may seem counterintuitive to a healthy bronchial system. However, the opposite is true. The production of clean, healthy phlegm keeps the respiratory system functioning without old, sticky mucus clogging it.

Side Effects

  1. It can lead to low levels of potassium in the body, which causes muscle weakness.
  2. Subjects who ingested too much licorice root in a two-week period experienced fluid retention and metabolism abnormalities.
  3. It cause high blood pressure, swelling, and heartbeat irregularity.
  4. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised by the FDA to avoid licorice in all forms. People with hypertension should also avoid licorice root.

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