Licorice root, which is considered one of the world’s oldest herbal remedies, comes from the root of the licorice plant. Native to Western Asia and Southern Europe, licorice has long been used to treat various ailments and flavor candies, drinks, and medicines. Despite this history, only some of its uses are backed by scientific research. Furthermore, licorice may carry several health risks.
How is licorice root used?
Medicinal use of licorice dates back to ancient Egypt, where the root was made into a sweet drink for pharaohs.
It has also been used in traditional Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Greek medicines to soothe an upset stomach, reduce inflammation, and treat upper respiratory problems.
Licorice root is used both as a flavoring agent and medicinal treatment. It comes in many forms, including teas, capsules, liquids, and even topical gels.
Licorice root may have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. Early research suggests that, as a result, it may ease upper respiratory infections, treat ulcers, and aid digestion, among other benefits.
Chronic use and large doses of licorice root can cause severe fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those with kidney disease, heart disease, or high blood pressure should avoid licorice products.
You can consume licorice root as a tea, tincture, powder, or supplement. It can also be applied topically as a gel. While there’s no standard dosage for licorice root, you should limit your total glycyrrhizin intake no more than 100 grams per day.
Medical reference: Healthline