Also known as licorice root, sweet licorice
Licorice is a perennial herb that grows large and is a beautiful addition to any garden. It takes four years to grow from seed to being able to harvest the roots, but this plant is definitely one to have on hand for anyone interested in herbal remedies.
Licorice is one of the most widely used medicinal plants with few alternatives. It not only has potent healing properties, but is also commonly used to mask the flavor of bitter or bad tasting herbs in tinctures, tisanes (teas) and decoctions making it a popular herb to use with children and hesitant husbands as they are usually resistant to nasty tasting herbal creations.
Licorice is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, demulcent (soothes mucous membraines), expectorant (clears mucous), and a tonic.
It is commonly used to treat respiratory tract infections, coughs, mucous congestion, lung congestion and viral infections.
It has soothing and coating properties making it idea for use in gastritis, peptic ulcer, and inflammatory bowel disease. Taken at night it can help ease acid reflux and indigestion.
It’s anti-inflammatory action relieves stiffness, heat, and pain in muscles and joints. It helps slow chronic inflammation and eases discomforts commonly associated with inflammation in the joints in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Licorice tea can be used as a mouth rinse or gargle for sore tongue, mouth and throat ulcers, and laryngitis. It is traditionally used to slow tooth decay. If swallowed it soothes irritation and inflammation within the airways helping ease cough and stimulate the lungs to clear phlegm.
Licorice has shown to be a very effective tonic to support the adrenal glands, especially when they have been subjected to long term stress (Read more about adrenal glands and stress here). Traditionally it is used to recover from illness and chronic exhaustion. As an estrogenic herb, it can be helpful in menopausal exhaustion.
Chinese research is also showing great promise in the use of licorice root to treat Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS) improving menstrual regularity and fertility.
Not to be used during pregnancy because of its ability to increase blood pressure. Not for prolonged use except under supervision by a qualified health practitioner. Do not use if you have hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disorders or diabetes. Avoid excessive doses. Use only in amounts recommended. Eat more potassium-rich foods while using licorice.
1 Natural Health by Nerys Purchon
2 Herbal Remedies by Andrew Chevallier
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