Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Other common names: Licorice root, liquorice, sweet root, Liquiritia officinalis, lycorys, lacrisse

licorice root

Diagram courtesy of Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé / Wikimedia Commons

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Family: Fabaceae

Actions: Anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, balances blood sugar and hormones (lowers testosterone), appetite stimulant, raises blood pressure, antimicrobial, antitussive, antihistamine, decongestant, aperient laxative, adaptogen, immune booster, anti-depressant, lowers cholesterol, liver tonic, diaphoretic, analgesic, inhibits the formation of arterial plaque, cardiovascular tonic, respiratory tonic, digestive aide, demulcent, mild blood thinner.

Harvest: Harvest the root in autumn, after the plant is at least three years old.

Part used: Root

Constituents: Phytoestrogens, glycyrrhizin, protein, resin, gums, asparagin, starch, sugar, volatile oils and others.

Indications: Used to treat stomach ulcers, cold and flu symptoms, bacterial and viral infections, poor appetite, cough, sore throat, autoimmune conditions, congestion,  adrenal conditions, oral health, depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, menopause, PMS, liver health, eczema, acne, pain, fever, blood sugar spikes, diabetes (consult with a doctor first), recovery after a long illness, respiratory complaints, and it inhibits arterial plaque formation.

Medicinal preparations:

Licorice root

Photo courtesy of / Wikimedia Commons


Use as a tincture, decoction tea, extract or chew the root itself to help with throat and mouth complaints. You can also use it in lozenges.


Licorice can be processed and applied directly on topical injuries, and the decoction, extract and tincture can be included in washes and salves, bath products, hair products and more.


Do not use while pregnant or nursing, or if diabetic, without the advice of a physician. Do not give to patients with high blood pressure, edema, kidney, liver or heart disease. High doses may cause diarrhea. Do not use long term at a high dosage (more than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid per day), as it can cause liver toxicity and excessive levels of aldosterone (which leads to heart problems, high blood pressure and other side effects). Can cause water retention and low potassium. May interact with diabetes medications, digoxin, corticosteroids, blood thinners, MAO inhibitors, oral contraceptives, medications processed by the liver, ACE inhibitors and other pharmaceuticals. Consult with a doctor if you have a severe hormonal or endocrine disorder. Can lower male sex drive.

Stop taking two weeks prior to undergoing surgery (due to blood thinning and sugar level alteration).

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Licorice has been placed in coffins to ease the deceased person’s passage into the next life. It has also been used in rituals to stop bad habits, encourage fidelity and bring passion to a relationship. It improves lust but inspires faithfulness along with it. Some choose to make wands out of licorice wood.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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