Licorice

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has been used in food and as medicine for thousands of years. Also known as "sweet root," licorice root contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to liver disease. It acts as a demulcent, a soothing, coating agent, and as an expectorant, meaning it helps get rid of phlegm. It is still used today for several conditions, although not all of its uses are supported by scientific evidence.

Licorice that has the active ingredient of glycyrrhiza can have serious side effects. Another type of licorice, called DGL or deglycyrrhizinated licorice, does not seem to have the same side effects and is sometimes used to treat peptic ulcers, canker sores, and reflux (GERD). Practitioners still sometimes suggest whole licorice for cough, asthma, and other breathing problems. Topical preparations are used for eczema and other skin problems.

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Atherosclerosis Bronchitis Common cold Viral encephalitis Gastritis Gastroesophageal reflux disease Viral hepatitis HIV and AIDS Hypercholesterolemia Osteoporosis Peptic ulcer Pharyngitis

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Herbal medicine

Review Date: 2/2/2016  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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