What are the health benefits of liquorice?

The liquorice sweets that you can buy in shops actually derive from the liquorice root which is used as a medicinal plant.

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra is the botanical name) is a fantastic herbal ally to start working with as it has so many therapeutic properties such as:.

  • Hormonal regulation: Liquorice is often used for irregular menstrual cycles, promoting fertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In fact liquorice combined with white paeony is a Japanese herbal formula that has been shown to reduces testosterone in women with PCOS.
  • Stress: Liquorice is an adaptogen that support our adrenal glands by having a cortisol like effect the body.
  • Immunity: It is a potent anti viral and has been used to treat the herpes simplex virus.
  • Respiratory system: Liquorice has an affinity with the lungs and particularly useful for dry and spasmodic coughs.
  • Digestion: Liquorice is high in mucilaginous (slimy) compounds that soothe and coat the digestive tract. It is great for ulcers, GERD and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Weight loss: liquorice has been shown to reduce fat deposition in cells- particularly abdominal fat which is associated with stress and insulin resistance

If you want to experience the health benefits of liquorice then you can buy liquorice root and make a decoction by simmering liquorice root for 15 minutes. You could also try the root in a tea, powdered or as a tincture.

Unfortunately, liquorice sweets do not have the same effect as they often do not even contain any liquorice!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine liquorice is known as the great harmoniser due to its ability to pull the different actions of herbs together and enhance their effects around the body when added to a herbal formula.

Important to note though you take too much it can have a laxative effect and also is contraindicated for use in people with high blood pressure and pregnancy.