Medicinal properties of licorice root

Update: October 2018 Licorice (licorice, licorice root)
– herbaceous perennial plant from the extensive family of legumes.
Culture is common in the subtropics, as well as in the temperate zone
Northern Hemisphere, in steppes, semi-deserts and forest-steppes,
prefers sandy slopes, river valleys, steppe meadows.
Geographical distribution – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, South
Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Northern Caucasus, Southern Urals,
Volga region, Siberia (Western and Eastern). Successfully cultivated in
places with a temperate climate.

The plant has been used in medicine for a long time, especially for the treatment of
cough Thus, licorice was always prescribed for bronchitis, colds.
phenomena, dry excruciating cough.  Medicinal properties and
contraindications licorice known and proven official medicine,
therefore, the plant is actively used in pharmaceutical

Morphological description

The height of the upright unbranched stalk reaches 40-150 cm. From
thick, short and many-headed maternal rhizomes depart
underground shoots with buds (stolons) growing horizontally, and
thin long root, growing into the ground a few meters.
Roots intertwine and form a complex, strong network. Thanks
the root system of the plant is well going through dry time,
since moisture and nutrients are received from deep layers

The leaves are oblong, egg-shaped, with solid edges, have
the next location, the bottom is covered with fluff and glands (sticky on
touch). Flowers collected in racemes dense buds have
whitish-purple color and arranged on long thin
peduncles. Flowering occurs in June-August. Fruits –
sickle-curved, multi-seeded: bean up to 3 cm long contains
about 8 seeds. Fruits ripen in August-September.

A bit of history

Useful properties of licorice were discovered about 5 thousand years ago.
In the treatises of Chinese scientists, the plant is included in the list
potent drugs. In Sumer and Tibet culture was prepared
special teas for longevity, rejuvenation of the body. Popular
Egyptian elixir of youth, which took the pharaohs,
necessarily included and licorice.  Egyptian women
took a bath with broth licorice, which provided
anti-aging effect.

Collecting and harvesting

Rhizomes with roots are medicinal raw materials that are subject to
the workpiece. They are harvested peeled bark, and together with
bark, early spring or autumn.

солодка лечебная и ее кореньRhizomes and roots are dug out
soil, cut the stems and wash in cold water. After that, they are cut
to pieces and dried in the sun or indoors, ensuring
ventilation. Dry raw material is pressed into bales.

The largest specimens of the roots are peeled and dried immediately.
after cleaning.

Raw materials for harvesting are fragments of roots and rhizomes in the form
cylinders of different lengths with a thickness of 5-50 mm. On the brown surface can
to be visible remnants of rhizomes. At the break, the roots have a wavy
texture, pronounced yellow. They do not smell, and the taste –
very sweet, somewhat annoying throat. Raw airs on
air, then dried under a canopy or in dryers with t not
more than 60 degrees.

Dry raw materials break when broken with a crunch – this is a sign of it.
readiness. Store licorice roots in dryness and darkness – in
under such conditions, raw materials are valid for 10 years.

Chemical composition

The elevated part is rich in essential oils, pigments,
flavonoids, polysaccharides and saponins.

The composition of the roots is very rich:

  • vitamins;
  • pigments;
  • squirrels;
  • traces of essential oil;
  • bitterness (up to 4%);
  • resin (3-4%);
  • poly-, di – and monosaccharides;
  • 27 flavonoids (3-4%);
  • triterpene saponins (about 20%).

The last two groups of substances are of the greatest interest with
point of view of pharmacology. The most beneficial among flavonoids is
flavonol and chalcone and their isoforms: licurazide, likvritozid,
kaempferol, isolikviritin, likvritin, ramnolikviritin,
neolikviritin, ramnoizolikviritin, uralozide.

The most active triterpenic saponin is glycyrrhizin, and
also uralenoglucuronic acid aglycone – acid

The characteristic sweet taste of rhizomes is determined by the presence
glycyrrhizic acid and its derivatives. Salts of this acid in
50-100 times sweeter than sugar. Acid has similar with steroid
hormones structure, therefore, can be used as a starting product
for artificial synthesis of steroid hormones.

Beneficial features

Pharmacological activity is determined by chemical composition.

  • The antispasmodic effect on smooth muscles is possible due to
    action of flavudoins, in particular, liquiditroside.
  • Expectorant properties are determined by the substance glycyrrhizin,
    activating the function of the ciliary epithelium of the bronchial tree and
    trachea and enhancing the secretion of the upper respiratory mucosa
  • Pronounced anti-inflammatory effect – a complex effect,
    which manifests itself as a kind of stopping of inflammatory reactions,
    caused by serotonin, histamine and bradykinin.
  • Antiulcer activity due to substance
    carbenoxolone (a derivative of glycyrrhizic acid). It
    enhances the formation of sialic acid, which is part of
    the gastrointestinal mucosa and is involved in protecting the membrane from damage.
    Thanks этому отмечается повышение сопротивляемости слизистой
    stomach to the action of aggressive substances such as hydrochloric acid,
    pepsin acting on the sheath during gastroduodenal reflux and
    initial stage YABZH.
  • Softening, laxative effect due to the action of glycoside
    likvritina that relaxes the digestive sphincters
  • The plant has both an antimicrobial and antifungal effect in
    respect of Candida albicans, Microsporum lanosum and Trichophyton

In the course of research in the Voronezh Medical Institute
It is established that the concentration and the number of goblet cells of a thin
intestine and neutral glycoproteins are significantly reduced when
eating licorice root. Clinical and functional scientific
studies conducted at the Pyatigorsk Institute of Pharmacy,
confirmed anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect
liniment obtained from the roots and rhizomes of licorice. Also was
proven positive effect of licorice on the adrenal glands, namely
to stimulate the synthesis of the necessary substances needed in the fight
with systemic lupus, allergic dermatitis, pemphigus.
Regulation of the activity of the endocrine glands, in particular, during menopause
and hyperthyroidism, allows you to include a plant in
appropriate fitozbory.


Pharmaceuticals, такие как экстракт корней (густой и
dry), thoracic syrup, elixir, chest collection previously used
exclusively as expectorant drugs for diseases of the organs
breathing. Now both the scope and quantity of drugs
increased significantly.

  • Flacarbin – a drug used in gastroenterology with YABZH.
    Provides antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and laxative.
  • Glyciram – a drug from the root, prescribed for allergic
    dermatitis, bronchial asthma, eczema, etc.
  • Elekasol – multicomponent herbal medicine, prescribed for
    chronic and acute diseases of the ear, nose, throat, lungs,
    gastroenterological and dental diseases.
  • Liquiriton – antisecretory, anti-inflammatory and
    antispasmodic that is prescribed during therapy
    hyperacid gastritis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.
  • Root powder – used as a basis for various drugs
    (as an auxiliary component).
  • Condensed evaporated water extract from the roots of a plant –
    used as an expectorant.
  • Chest elixir is an effective expectorant.
  • Licorice root syrup – the instructions indicate that the drug
    effective for tracheitis, acute and chronic bronchitis, pneumonia,
    bronchial asthma, gastritis and ulcerative disorders without exacerbation. Often
    patients ask the question of which cough helps licorice syrup –
    It is used for dry and wet coughing.
  • Licorice decoction – has antibacterial action,
    used in chronic colitis, providing a laxative,
    секретолитическое и мочегонное act.

Licorice children

Children are given licorice with a dry cough, concomitant
tracheitis, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, treheobronchitis, pneumonia,
in the form of syrup, which can be bought at the pharmacy.

The drug contributes to the early removal of sputum, has
antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, enhances

Syrup is taken after meals, three times a day, in the next

  • children under 3 years old – 2-3 drops of the drug per 1 spoon of warm boiled
  • children 3-12 years old – 2.5-5 ml of syrup diluted in quarters
    стакана теплой water;
  • children from 12 years old – 5-10 ml of the drug with a half cup

Recipes of traditional medicine

Expectorant infusion (bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, abscess
lung, acute respiratory viral infection, dry cough)

10 g of the root is placed in a container, poured boiling water (200 ml) and
15-20 minutes put in a water bath, then about an hour
insist, filter and squeeze the rest of the raw materials. Bring to volume
200 ml, adding cooled boiled water, stored in the refrigerator 2

Take 3-4 p per day.

Infusion with YABZH and duodenal ulcer, hyperacid gastritis.

In a thermos put 1 tbsp. chopped root and pour 200 ml
boiling water. Insist 2 hours

Take 1 tbsp. up to 4 times a day.

To improve immunity (with frequent colds)

1 tbsp. shredded root poured half a liter of boiling water and
incubated for 8 hours, then boiled for 10 minutes on low heat,

Take 1 tbsp. after meals, 4 r per day, 3-4 weeks.

For prostate adenoma

1 tbsp. crushed roots are added to 500 ml. water and 10 min
boil on low heat, insist until completely cooled,

Take 2-3 cups before meals, 2-3 p per day.

With bronchial asthma, bronchitis (anti-inflammatory,
antiallergic effect)

1 tbsp. minced root pour 200 ml of water, boil for 10 minutes
на слабом огне, настаивают 60 мин, filter.

Take 1 tablespoon 4 times a day.

With hangover

Slowly chew a small piece of fresh root in your mouth.

To relax the chair

Grind root to powder. 1/2 teaspoon powder mixed
with 1 teaspoon honey.

Take 3 times a day, before meals.

From allergies, skin eczema, pigmentation

1 part of the shredded root is mixed with 10 parts of boiling water and
insist overnight in a thermos. Moistened cotton swab and
apply it to the affected skin for 1 hour up to 3 times per day. Same
method used licorice pigment spots.

Side effects

With long-term treatment with herb licorice, as well as overdose
may occur:

  • allergic reactions (skin);
  • increased blood pressure;
  • fluid retention, which is manifested by edema;
  • violations of potency and libido, as well as unbalance sexual


  • Kidney disease;
  • Hypertension;
  • Heart failure;
  • Obesity;
  • Cirrhosis of the liver;
  • Hypokalemia;
  • Individual intolerance;
  • Children under 3 years old (according to some sources – up to 2).

Licorice during pregnancy is contraindicated. With chest
Feeding the decision on the appointment of licorice takes healing

Автор: врач-гигиенист, эпидемиолог

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