Liquorice Root: Nutritional Properties, Uses and Health Benefits

Liquorice Root: Nutritional Properties, Uses and Health Benefits

Liquorice is a herbal medicinal plant. It is scientifically called Glycyrrhiza glabra. The roots of this plant are widely in demand because of its health benefits. Liquorice first originated from Western Asia and Southern Europe. It has been consumed for years to treat a variety of diseases. In addition, it is also famous for its ability to give flavour to candies, beverages, and medicines. Egyptians used Licorice for medicinal purposes; people use it to date. In addition, the use of roots was to prepare a sweet drink for the ancient kings. 

Liquorice is readily available in the market and is very easy to use. However, you should consume Liquorice for its tremendous health benefits more than the root’s taste, flavour, and popularity. 

Nutritional Value of Liquorice

The nutritional value of 14 grams of Licorice is:

  • Calories: 53
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Sugars: 9.8g

Health Benefits of Liquorice

Liquorice contains more than 300 different chemicals, some of which are antiviral and antibacterial. A lot of these chemicals help treat and prevent several health problems. In addition, we can use them as a supplement along with the prescribed medications for better results. Some of the primary health benefits of Licorice are: 

1. Treats Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers refer to the sores in the stomach, lower oesophagus or intestines. H. pylori bacteria cause inflammation that leads to the development of peptic ulcers. According to research, they are pretty painful. 

Liquorice root has antibacterial properties. It contains flavonoids that are effective in killing H. pylori bacteria. In addition, flavonoids are compounds found in plants, which effectively cure Candida albicans and other serious bacterial infections like Staphylococcus aureus

You can mitigate the severity of peptic ulcers by liquorice root extract and its glycyrrhizin.It also helps to heal irritated and injured mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract. By boosting mucin synthesis, liquorice protects the stomach and duodenum. Mucin synthesis is the production of a chemical that protects the membranes of these organs from stomach acid and other toxic substances.

2. Aids in Weight Loss

Liquorice aids in preventing obesity and the accumulation of fat in the body. According to a study, it lowers body fat without influencing our body’s BMI. Liquorice contains flavonoids which aid in the reduction of body fat buildup.. Flavonoids reduce the accumulation of body fat by limiting fat absorption, increasing calorie expenditure, controlling blood sugar and insulin, and reducing inflammation. In addition, consumption of flavonoid-rich foods helps reduce fat storage, particularly belly fat. 

There are different ways in which you can consume it for weight loss. You can either get liquorice tea from the market or prepare one independently. Add dried liquorice root to boiling tea water. Allow it to cook for a few minutes before sipping this warm cup of delight.Additionally, you may get organic licorice oil from the store and use it as a salad dressing. There are also dry liquorice sticks available in the market that can be washed and chewed directly. Even topical usage of liquorice aids in weight loss. Liquorice contains glycyrrhetinic acid, which helps reduce excess fat in the areas you apply it regularly.

3. Helps with Menopause and Menstrual Symptoms

Liquorice root is a standard home treatment for menstruation cramps in women. According to research, it also aids with various menopause symptoms, including hot flashes. Liquorice also contains phytoestrogens. These are plant-based chemicals that have similar effects as estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle. 

Women approaching menopause experience many changes and fluctuations in the normal secretion of this hormone. Women may benefit from phytoestrogens during this period. It rebalances these hormones and eases the period of menopause that results in a number of unpleasant side effects.

Liquorice root can help to reduce spasms and pain, particularly in the abdomen and legs. Glycyrrhizin and flavonoids are the two main components of liquorice. Flavonoids are antioxidants that improve blood circulation, reduce cellular and tissue damage, and reduce inflammation. 

4. Treats Canker Sores

Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice (DGL) is a form of liquorice obtained after removing glycyrrhizic acid. DGL stores the root’s soothing and wound healing qualities. 

Apply a mixture of DGL and warm water to the linings of the mouth from inside. It significantly fastens the healing process. You can make this mixture by:

  • Add 200 mg powdered DGL into 200 ml warm water. 
  • After that, swirl it around in your mouth for 2 to 3 minutes before spitting it out. 
  • Repeat the process twice a day for one week. 

You can chew DGL tablets as it is also a good alternative.

5. Helps Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Liquorice root’s active ingredients like flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties. You can take it as a supplement along with the medications for rheumatoid arthritis. The standard rheumatoid arthritis medications fail to block biochemical feedback loops. 

Studies suggest that glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid in liquorice effectively stop the same. Therefore, liquorice root could be a helpful additional medication for arthritis.

Glycyrrhizin is an anti-inflammatory agent. It also aids the body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol is an immunosuppressant that helps reduce pain and the onset of arthritis. It also mitigates some of the cortisol’s adverse effects like adrenal fatigue and anxiety.

Ways to Consume Licorice

Liquorice root is available in several forms as a supplement, such as capsules, powders, tinctures, topical gels, and teas. In addition, the root is readily accessible in both fresh and dried form. The number of active components can also vary from product to product.

It is tough to consume the whole liquorice root. However, you can shave the roots or buy peeled roots from the market to make tea. To make liquorice tea: 

  • Mix a tablespoon of the peels in a cup of boiling water. 
  • Strain it and serve it before it gets cold. 
  • You can also use it by stirring 1⁄4 teaspoon of liquorice powder in boiled milk until completely dissolved.

Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL) powders or capsules is another good way to consume them. However, these supplements do not contain glycyrrhizin, which causes most of the liquorice’s adverse effects.

Recipes

Liquorice Strips

Liquorice Root: Nutritional Properties, Uses and Potential Benefits- HealthifyMe

Servings: 14

Ingredients

  • Flour: 64 g
  • Himalayan pink salt: 1 pinch
  • Butter: 100 ml 
  • Honey: 59 ml
  • Jaggery: 128 g
  • Sweetened condensed milk: 118 ml
  • Liquorice extract: 1 tsp
  • Beetroot juice: 1 tsp

Method

  1. Add flour and salt. Then mix it. 
  2. Mix sugar, syrup, milk, and butter in a pan. Boil the mixture. Heat till the mixture reaches 115 ° Celsius. Dip your fingers into the water and make balls from the syrup. If the balls stick together for a few seconds, the mix is ready. 
  3. Remove the pan from heat and mix the flour mixture into it thoroughly.
  4. Add liquorice extract to give flavour to the mixture. Additionally, you can add beetroot juice for colouring the mix.
  5. Transfer the mixture into a buttered pan and refrigerate for approximately an hour or until it is well set. 
  6. Put the mixture on wax paper and cut it into long strips with a width of half an inch. 
  7. Store the strips in an airtight container.

Possible Side Effects

Glycyrrhizic acid, a component of liquorice, is mainly responsible for some of its adverse effects. You can obtain deglycyrrhizinated liquorice after the removal of this component. Once removed, it may not have as many adverse effects.

You can use liquorice root to cure various digestive problems and reduce the symptoms of menopause. However, if consumed in excess, it can be harmful and cause harm to the body. People with liver or renal issues should not consume it too often. In addition, it may interrupt the working of some of the medications.

You should avoid the consumption of liquorice in large amounts. The component glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to drop. Herbal drugs containing liquorice root should be avoided by pregnant women as well. Frequent liquorice consumption may result in preterm birth.

Although liquorice root is not a severe allergen, any food might cause an allergic reaction. It depends and varies from person to person. Therefore, it’s better to check the ingredients of any liquorice product you want to buy. Few symptoms of liquorice allergy include hives, sore throat, asthma, difficulty swallowing, or dizziness. 

It is always safer to discuss the dosage and diagnose potential allergies and side effects your body might show up on its consumption. 

Conclusion

Liquorice root has been used to cure a range of health problems for years, including respiratory and digestive issues. Its plant components include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Even then, liquorice can be harmful if consumed excessively. Before taking liquorice root supplements, it’s advisable to talk to your doctor. Additional human trials are required to see if it can help with acid reflux, diabetes, eczema and other health problems. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the liquorice root good for?

A: It provides a wide range of health advantages. For example, sore throats, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, weariness, tension, and other ailments can be relieved by the components present in the root. It contains flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, flavonoids have healing and soothing qualities. 

Q: How much liquorice is safe?

A: Get liquorice products containing under 10% Glycyrrhizin. Moreover, one should avoid exceeding the product’s suggested dosage as mentioned on the label. While there is no standardised dosage for liquorice root, you should consume no more than 100 grams every day. 

Q: What are the side effects of liquorice root?

A: Overconsumption of liquorice can result in elevated blood pressure and reduced potassium levels. Since the composition varies from product to product, it is tough to determine whether a certain quantity of consumption is safe or not. 

Q: Can I take liquorice root every day?

A: You should consume liquorice root in a limited amount. It is preferable to consume it for not more than 3 to 6 weeks. Also, your daily intake should not exceed more than 100 grams. 

Q: Is licorice root a steroid?

A: Glycyrrhiza liquorice has a bit of glucocorticoid effect and may work with cortisol. Glycyrrhizin is chemically similar to corticoids. Therefore, it can bind to glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors.

Q: Who should not eat liquorice?

A: For people above 40, overconsumption of more than 40 grams per day for two weeks might result in low blood potassium levels and irregular heart rate (arrhythmia). Children, pregnant women, and nursing moms should avoid its consumption. 

Q: What medications should you not take with liquorice?

A: Avoid consuming liquorice products if you use angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or diuretics to control your blood pressure. Liquorice may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs or enhance their side effects.

Q: Can I drink liquorice tea every day?

A: The suitable dose of glycyrrhetinic acid that causes side effects is 100 mg per day. According to a study, one cup of liquorice tea has roughly 31.5 milligrammes of Glycyrrhizin on average, so don’t consume more than three cups. 

Q: Is liquorice good for losing weight?

A: Yes, liquorice lowers body fat and inhibits aldosterone levels. Both are responsible for increased body weight. Flavonoids are chemicals found in plants that act as antioxidants. Liquorice oil, high in flavonoids, helps people lose weight by controlling the enzyme involved in fat accumulation and its breakdown. 

Q: Is liquorice good for your stomach?

A: Yes, it aids in the relief of gastrointestinal and abdominal problems such as stomach ulcers, heartburn, and inflammation in the stomach. It is rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids. In addition, it soothes an upset stomach. 

Q: Is liquorice good for acid reflux?

A: Acid reflux and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may alleviate by using liquorice root. If used regularly for over a year, it can be more effective than antacids in lowering acid reflux symptoms.

Q: What is the best way to take liquorice root?

A: It can be used in several ways depending on your purpose and convenience. It comes in powders, tablets, tea, raw sticks, gels etc. You can also apply it directly to the skin. However, you should consume it in a limited amount. 

Q: Does liquorice give you diarrhoea?

A: DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Liquorice) is an over-the-counter remedy that aids in the healing of the digestive tract, but if consumed excessively, it may hurt the digestive process and lead to diarrhoea. 

Q: Is liquorice root terrible for kidneys?

A: Kidneys remove excess potassium from the body through urine. Our kidneys, however, secrete enzymes that break down and prevent cortisols from stimulating kidneys to excrete potassium. 

It makes the kidneys excessively pass potassium out of the body, which lowers potassium levels in the body. 

Q: Does liquorice tea make you sleepy?

A: It gives adrenal support during stress and anxiety. It improves cortisol functioning, which relieves the body from stress and pressure. It calms the mind and may help get a peaceful sleep. 

Q: Is liquorice OK for a person with diabetes?

A: Liquorice contains a compound known as Amorfrutin. As per a research done on rats, it significantly lowered inflammation and blood sugar level for diabetic animals. Amorfrutins also restrict the development of a fatty liver, one of the side effects of diabetes. 

Q: Is licorice high in sugar?

A: Liquorice contains Glycyrrhizin which is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Consuming many liquorice products can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure or hypertension.

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