Licorice: Properties and Benefits


Licorice is a perennial herb of the Mediterranean region, in the family papilionacea. Known for over 35 centuries, the translation of his name from the greek means “sweet root” was used for medicinal purposes by ancient Chinese physicians and was mentioned by Hippocrates as essentially curative of cough.

Licorice: Properties and Benefits


The oldest news about this food and its properties date back about 6,000 years ago and they are even traces in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs.  Licorice and its healing properties, as we saw, were already known to medicine greek-Roman, Egyptian and Indian. Today, thanks to a study at Rutgers University of New Jersey, the root may be also an excellent weapon against certain types of cancer.

Chemical Composition

Its active ingredients consist of triterpenoid saponins, mainly glycyrrhizin, triterpenes and styrene, about 30 between flavonoids and isoflavonoids, choline, betaine and other bitter substances.

Healing Properties and Benefits of Licorice

Since the early 80’s were shown the benefits of some active ingredients of licorice against different types of viral infections. The more positive news coming from America where some of New Jersey researchers have tested a molecule derived from tgis root, the BHP, on tissues from prostate cancer and breast cancer.

And they demonstrated that the properties of this molecule can inhibit the growth of cancer cells listed.  And it is through such studies that have expanded their hopes for the implementation of new and more effective therapies. Interesting to note that the BHP belongs to the class of polyphenols, which as we know, have an effective anti-cancer activity.

Currently, root and its extracts are regularly used as: respiratory care, anti-inflammatory and healing, laxative, protector of the blood vessels, hypertension, sweetener and refreshing.

A study at Nankai University in China revealed as the plant could prove a good ally in the treatment of liver cancer. It seems that the content of glycyrrhizic acid can be used as “carrier” to bring the target drugs cancer. The results of this research were published in the journal  Chemistry & Industry

Cardiovascular Effects

Many substances extracted from the roots of licorice, first of all the glabridine, both in quantity and quality, have proved effective action against cholesterol and atherosclerosis.


Pure licorice


In French hospitals was used in conjunction with grass and barley to prepare a herbal tea called “bonne-à-tout”.

This root should not be consumed while you are making homeopathic care, the same applies to the mint.

Antiquity until the use of licorice has been to prepare soft drinks, most often in conjunction with other substances, such as coriander.

The roots of licorice are collected in autumn from plants that have at least four years of life, peel and put to dry in the sun. Liquorice roots are a good palliation for people wishing to stop smoking and also in the gestures can somehow replace the cigarette.

Side Effects

The licorice can cause hypokalemia, which is to reduce the percentage of potassium in the blood, and can also cause hypertension, to prohibit the consumption in the presence of renal or liver, overweight, hypertension. Finally, this food can interfere with the use of diuretics or cortisone-based drugs, in which case you should always seek medical advice.

Licorice Tea

The herbal tea made from this root has digestive properties and slightly laxative for its preparation requires 60 grams of licorice roots that must be left to soak for about an hour in a quart of boiling water. Sweeten with honey.


Licorice: Properties and Benefits

A study conducted at the University of Helsinki has shown that excessive consumption of this root in pregnant women may cause brain damage to children she was carrying. This is because its component, the glicirizzina, can damage the placenta, allowing the unusual step of certain hormones.

Licorice: properties and benefits

Italian version

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