About the Licorice Plant
Licorice is a perennial plant that’s native to Europe and parts of Asia. The plant can grow up to about 7 foot high and it’s extensive root system is what’s commonly harvested for use as a supplement. These roots contain many different substances like flavonoids and sterols. It’s a complex mix of natural compounds that have been used and studied for hundreds of years.
Licorice has been used traditionally as a remedy for coughing and has many other uses, which we will explore in this article. One of the main compounds found in the root is known as glycyrrhizin and it’s often studied for use in treating a variety of conditions.
In Europe, glycyrrhizin is added to jams and spreads, and some people take it to combat acidity. In Japan, it is used to treat ulcers, acid reflux, gastric disorders, as well as dyspepsia and arthrititus. When eaten, glycyrrhizin vapors are actually absorbed into the bloodstream, and they may bind themselves to fat molecules, thus preventing absorption and thereby blocking some weight gain. They are also believed to inhibit the absorption of iron and certain minerals in the gut.
In the past, many individuals used licorice roots to treat a wide range of ailments. Some believed it reduced or eliminated lice, while others reported successfully eliminating bladder infections, blood sugar, and blood pressure. In 1790, someone in England, claimed that “an Examination of the roots of this Plant, taken in the form of a fine powder, in the morning, will afford a remedy for Colitis which is such abysmal.” Some alternative therapy practitioners still recommend it today for those suffering from Colitis..
Traditional Uses of Licorice
Functions of licorice include reducing inflammation, promoting wound healing, reducing mild headaches, aiding in the control of colitis and helping to treat the symptoms of anemia and depression, and reducing the risk of cancer. Licorice and the well-known joint supplement chondroitin are believed to work together by helping to mineralize and strengthen tooth enamel. Licorice is used to treat a wide range of skin conditions too, and is quite safe to use topically as directed by a dermatologist. It is used to treat bruises and skin infections, has a mild diuretic action, and can be used to help improve the look of uneven skin. It has a mild sedative action and can be used to help relieve discomfort from arthritis.