The Healing Power of Licorice

Most people know licorice as a candy, but this herb is one of the most extensively used and researched herbal remedies. It has the honour of being one of the first foods to be studied by the US National Cancer Institute’s experimental food program.

Licorice root contains a substance called glycyrrhizin and it is this compound that boosts your immunity, reduces the symptoms of chronic fatigue, helps to heal stomach ulcers and ease digestive complaints and is widely recognized for treating respiratory illnesses. The root is made into tablets, tinctures, capsules and creams and is readily available at any health store or pharmacy that stock herbal products.

There are two types of licorice herbal remedies: glycyrrhizin and DGL, or deglycyrrhizinated licorice. Both have different uses and effects on your body.

The first type’s ability to fight cold and flu viruses has made it one of the most popular herbal aids to treat respiratory problems by relieving symptoms such as coughing and sore throats. It also works to thin mucus, helping to clear the respiratory tract.

Dieticians and homeopaths use licorice to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other disorders that are affected by the body’s levels of cortisol, which is an adrenal hormone responsible for regulation of blood pressure, immune function and proper glucose metabolism.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is helpful in cases of heartburn, stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease, but it does not work the same way as the licorice root does. DGL enhances the body’s production of substances that coat the esophagus and stomach, offering protection from the damaging effects of stomach acid. Studies have shown that this herbal medicine is more effective than prescription anti-ulcer medications.

Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care.

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