Acide Glycyrrhizique, Acide Glycyrrhizinique, Alcacuz, Alcazuz, Bois Doux, Bois Sucré, Can Cao, Chinese Licorice, Deglycyrrhized Licorice, Gan Cao, Gan Zao, Glabra, Glycyrrhiza, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza glabra typica, Glycyrrhiza glabra violacea, Glycyrrhiza glabra glandulifera, Glycyrrhiza Radix, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Glycyrrhizae, Glycyrrhizic Acid, Glycyrrhizinic Acid, Isoflavone, Jethi-Madh, Kanzo, Lakritze, Licorice Root, Liquiritiae Radix, Liquirizia, Mulathi, Mulethi, Orozuz, Phytoestrogen, Phyto-œstrogène, Racine de Réglisse, Racine Douce, Radix Glycyrrhizae, Régalissse, Regaliz, Reglisse, Réglisse, Réglisse Déglycyrrhisée, Réglisse Espagnole, Réglisse Russe, Regliz, Russian Licorice, Spanish Licorice, Subholz, Sussholz, Sweet Root, Yashtimadhu, Yashti-Madhu, Yashti-Madhuka, Zhi Gan Cao.<br/><br/>
Overview InformationLicorice is an herb that is native to the Mediterranean, southern and central Russia, and Asia Minor to Iran. Many species are now grown throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which can cause complications when eaten in large quantities. Many "licorice" products manufactured in the U.S. actually don't contain any licorice. Instead, they contain anise oil, which has the characteristic smell and taste of "black licorice."
Licorice is taken by mouth alone or with other herbs for various digestive system complaints including stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, and ongoing inflammation of the lining of the stomach (chronic gastritis). People also take licorice by mouth for many other conditions. There is some good evidence to support the use of specific licorice combination products for heartburn. But there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of licorice for other conditions.
Some people apply licorice to the skin for itchy, inflamed skin (eczema), psoriasis, or a skin condition characterized by brown spots (melisma). It may be helpful for itchy, inflamed skin, but there is no good scientific research to support its use for other skin conditions.
Licorice is also used to flavor foods, beverages, and tobacco products.
How does it work?The chemicals contained in licorice are thought to decrease swelling, thin mucus secretions, decrease cough, and increase the chemicals in our body that heal ulcers.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). There is some evidence that applying licorice to the skin can improve symptoms of eczema. Applying a gel containing licorice three times daily for 2 weeks seems to reduce redness, swelling, and itching.
- Heartburn (dyspepsia). Taking certain combination products containing licorice root and many other herbal ingredients (Iberogast or STW-5-S or STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) seems to improve symptoms of heartburn.
- Recovery after surgery. Sucking on a single lozenge containing licorice beginning 30 minutes before having a tube inserted through the mouth into the trachea reduces cough following surgery by about 50%. Also, gargling with a licorice fluid before intubation reduces complications when the breathing tube is removed.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Canker sores. Some early research suggests that applying a patch containing licorice to the inside of the mouth for 16 hours daily for 8 days reduces the size of canker sores but does not speed up healing time. Other research suggests that applying licorice patches and gargling with warm water containing licorice reduces pain in patients with canker sores.
- Dental plaque. Early research suggests that using a toothpaste containing licorice twice dally does not reduce plaque, gingivitis, or bleeding when compared to toothpaste without licorice. Using mouthwash containing glycyrrhizin also does not seem to reduce plaque.
- Dry mouth. Early research suggests that taking a licorice mouthwash with every meal for 10 days in people on kidney dialysis with dry mouth might improve feelings of dry mouth but not the amount of saliva produced.
- A digestive tract infection that can lead to ulcers (Heliobacter pylori or H. pylori) . Early research shows that taking licorice twice daily together with a standard medication for H. pylori infection cures the infection more than taking a standard medication treatment alone. Licorice may only be helpful for the infection in people with peptic ulcer disease. More research is needed.
- Hepatitis. There is some evidence that certain components in licorice might be effective in treating hepatitis B and hepatitis C when given intravenously (by IV). Early research shows that using a specific IV licorice product seems to reduce death by about 50%. However, the studies involved too few patients to draw firm conclusions.
- High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking licorice root extract daily for 1 month reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.
- High potassium levels. Some research suggests that certain components in licorice decrease potassium levels in people with diabetes or kidney problems.
- Mouth sores (lichen planus). Early evidence suggests that administering a certain licorice component intravenously (by IV) improves symptoms of mouth sores in people with hepatitis C.
- Hot flashes during menopause. Some early research shows that taking licorice root extract can reduce the number and intensity of hot flashes in menopausal women. Other early research shows that it does not.
- Liver disease not associated with alcohol use (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease). Early research suggests that taking 2 grams of licorice root extract daily for 2 months reduces test markers of liver injury in patients with liver disease not caused by drinking alcohol.
- Stomach ulcers. There is some evidence that specially prepared licorice will speed up the healing of stomach ulcers. Taking a specific licorice product containing certain antacids for 4-16 weeks might speed up ulcer healing. However, taking similar licorice products that do not contain additional antacids does not appear to improve stomach ulcer symptoms.
- Weight loss. There is conflicting information about the use of licorice for weight loss. Licorice seems to reduce body fat. However, it causes water retention that can offset any change in body weight. Other research suggests that taking licorice daily for 8 weeks has no effect on weight or body fat.
- Abnormal levels of a hormone prolactin.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- A hereditary condition characterized by recurrent, painful swelling in the chest, stomach, or joints (Familial Mediterranean fever).
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Skin discoloration (melasma).
- Muscle cramps.
- Irregular menstrual cycle related to a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Prostate cancer.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyLicorice is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts found in foods. Licorice is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in larger amounts for medicinal purposes and when applied to the skin for a short amount of time. However, it is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts for more than 4 weeks or in smaller amounts long-term. Consuming licorice daily for several weeks or longer can cause severe side effects including life-threatening high blood pressure, low potassium levels, weakness, paralysis, and occasionally brain damage in otherwise healthy people. In people who eat a lot of salt or have heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure, as little as 5 grams per day can cause these problems.
Other side effects of licorice use include tiredness, absence of a menstrual period in women, headache, water and sodium retention, and decreased sexual interest and function in men.
People who chew tobacco flavored with licorice, drink licorice tea, or ingest large amounts of candy or lozenges that contain licorice might develop high blood pressure and other serious side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to take licorice by mouth if you are pregnant. High consumption of licorice during pregnancy, about 250 grams of licorice per week, seems to increase the risk of early delivery. It might cause a miscarriage or early delivery. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking licorice if you breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Heart disease: Licorice can cause the body to store water, and this can make congestive heart failure worse. Licorice can also increase the risk of irregular heartbeat. Don't consume licorice if you have heart disease.
Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Licorice might act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use licorice.
High blood pressure: Licorice can raise blood pressure. Don't consume large amounts of it if you have high blood pressure.
A muscle condition caused by nerve problems (hypertonia): Licorice can cause the level of potassium to drop in the blood. This can make hypertonia worse. Avoid licorice if you have hypertonia.
Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia): Licorice can lower potassium in the blood. If your potassium is already low, licorice might make it too low. Don't use licorice if you have this condition.
Kidney disease: Overuse of licorice could make kidney disease worse. Don't use it.
Sexual problems in men: Licorice can lower a man's interest in sex and also worsen erectile dysfunction (ED) by lowering levels of a hormone called testosterone.
Surgery: Licorice might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop taking licorice at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Do not take this combination
Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with LICORICE
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. The body breaks down warfarin (Coumadin) to get rid of it. Licorice might increase the breakdown and decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
Be cautious with this combination
Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with LICORICE
Large amounts of licorice can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).
Estrogens interacts with LICORICE
Licorice seems to change hormone levels in the body. Taking licorice along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.<br /><br /> Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
Ethacrynic Acid (Edecrin) interacts with LICORICE
Licorice can cause the body to get rid of potassium. Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) can also cause the body to get rid of potassium. Taking licorice and ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) together might cause potassium to become too low.
Furosemide (Lasix) interacts with LICORICE
Licorice can cause the body to get rid of potassium. Furosemide (Lasix) can also cause the body to get rid of potassium. Taking licorice and furosemide together might cause the potassium levels in your body to go too low.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) substrates) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br /><br /> Licorice might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking licorice along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking licorice talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.<br /><br /> Some of these medications changed by the liver include ketamine (Ketalar), phenobarbital, orphenadrine (Norflex), secobarbital (Seconal), dexamethasone (Decadron), and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br /><br /> Licorice might change how the liver breaks down some medications. Taking licorice along with medications that are broken down by the liver might increase or decrease the effects of these medications. Before taking licorice, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.<br /><br /> Some medications changed by the liver include celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), and warfarin (Coumadin).
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br /><br /> Licorice might change how the liver breaks down some medications. Taking licorice along with medications that are broken down by the liver might increase or decrease the effects of some medications. Before taking licorice, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.<br /><br /> Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with LICORICE
Large amounts of licorice seem to increase blood pressure. By increasing blood pressure licorice might decrease the effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure.<br /><br /> Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body. Licorice might also decrease potassium in the body. Taking licorice along with some medications for inflammation might decrease potassium in the body too much.<br /><br /> Some medications for inflammation include dexamethasone (Decadron), hydrocortisone (Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone), and others.
Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with LICORICE
Large amounts of licorice can decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking licorice along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.<br /><br /> Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDIURIL, Microzide), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For heartburn (dyspepsia): 1 mL of a specific product containing licorice, milk thistle, peppermint leaf, German chamomile, caraway, celandine, angelica, and lemon balm, with or without clown's mustard plant, (Iberogast or STW-5-S; Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for 4 weeks. In addition, 1 mL of a specific product containing licorice, peppermint, German chamomile, caraway, lemon balm, and clown's mustard plant, German chamomile, peppermint, caraway, licorice, and lemon balm (STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) has been taken three times daily for up to 12 weeks.
- For recovery after surgery: A lozenge containing 97 mg of licorice has been sucked for 30 minutes before anesthesia.
- For itchy and inflamed skin (eczema): Gel products containing 1% or 2% licorice root extract have been applied three times daily for 2 weeks.
- For recovery after surgery: Gargling with 30 mL of a fluid containing 0.5 grams of licorice for at least one minute beginning 5 minutes before placement of a breathing tube, has been used.
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- van Rossum, T. G., Vulto, A. G., Hop, W. C., and Schalm, S. W. Pharmacokinetics of intravenous glycyrrhizin after single and multiple doses in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. Clin Ther 1999;21(12):2080-2090. View abstract.
- Visavadiya, N. P. and Narasimhacharya, A. V. Hypocholesterolaemic and antioxidant effects of Glycyrrhiza glabra (Linn) in rats. Mol Nutr Food Res 2006;50(11):1080-1086. View abstract.
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- Yamaguchi, H., Kidachi, Y., Kamiie, K., Noshita, T., Umetsu, H., and Ryoyama, K. Glycyrrhetinic acid induces anoikis-like death and cytoskeletal disruption in the central nervous system tumorigenic cells. Biol.Pharm Bull. 2010;33(2):321-324. View abstract.
- Yamashiki, M., Nishimura, A., Suzuki, H., Sakaguchi, S., and Kosaka, Y. Effects of the Japanese herbal medicine "Sho-saiko-to" (TJ-9) on in vitro interleukin-10 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Hepatology 1997;25(6):1390-1397. View abstract.
- Zheng, A. and Moritani, T. Effect of the combination of ginseng, oriental bezoar and glycyrrhiza on autonomic nervous activity and immune system under mental arithmetic stress. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol.(Tokyo) 2008;54(3):244-249. View abstract.
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- Abe Y, Ueda T, Kato T, Kohli Y. [Effectiveness of interferon, glycyrrhizin combination therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C]. Nippon Rinsho 1994;52:1817-22. View abstract.
- Acharya SK, Dasarathy S, Tandon A, et al. A preliminary open trial on interferon stimulator (SNMC) derived from Glycyrrhiza glabra in the treatment of subacute hepatic failure. Indian J Med Res 1993;98:69-74. View abstract.
- Agarwal, A., Gupta, D., Yadav, G., Goyal, P., Singh, P. K., and Singh, U. An evaluation of the efficacy of licorice gargle for attenuating postoperative sore throat: a prospective, randomized, single-blind study. Anesth Analg 2009;109(1):77-81. View abstract.
- Amaryan G, Astvatsatryan V, Gabrielyan E, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, pilot clinical trial of ImmunoGuard--a standardized fixed combination of Andrographis paniculata Nees, with Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim, Schizandra chinensis Bail. and Glycyrrhiza glabra L. extracts in patients with Familial Mediterranean Fever. Phytomedicine 2003;10:271-85. View abstract.
- Amato P, Christophe S, Mellon PL. Estrogenic activity of herbs commonly used as remedies for menopausal symptoms. Menopause 2002;9:145-50. View abstract.
- Yuan, H. N., Wang, C. Y., Sze, C. W., Tong, Y., Tan, Q. R., Feng, X. J., Liu, R. M., Zhang, J. Z., Zhang, Y. B., and Zhang, Z. J. A randomized, crossover comparison of herbal medicine and bromocriptine against risperidone-induced hyperprolactinemia in patients with schizophrenia. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2008;28(3):264-370. View abstract.
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- Ai, M., Yamaguchi, T., Odaka, T., Mitsuhashi, K., Shishido, T., Yan, J., Seza, A., and Saisho, H. Objective assessment of the antispasmodic effect of shakuyaku-kanzo-to (TJ-68), a Chinese herbal medicine, on the colonic wall by direct spraying during colonoscopy. World J Gastroenterol 2-7-2006;12(5):760-764. View abstract.
- Aoki, F., Nakagawa, K., Kitano, M., Ikematsu, H., Nakamura, K., Yokota, S., Tominaga, Y., Arai, N., and Mae, T. Clinical safety of licorice flavonoid oil (LFO) and pharmacokinetics of glabridin in healthy humans. J Am Coll.Nutr 2007;26(3):209-218. View abstract.
- Armanini, D., Castello, R., Scaroni, C., Bonanni, G., Faccini, G., Pellati, D., Bertoldo, A., Fiore, C., and Moghetti, P. Treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome with spironolactone plus licorice. Eur J Obstet Gynecol.Reprod Biol 2007;131(1):61-67. View abstract.
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- Badr, A. E., Omar, N., and Badria, F. A. A laboratory evaluation of the antibacterial and cytotoxic effect of Liquorice when used as root canal medicament. Int Endod.J 2011;44(1):51-58. View abstract.
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- Brush, J., Mendenhall, E., Guggenheim, A., Chan, T., Connelly, E., Soumyanath, A., Buresh, R., Barrett, R., and Zwickey, H. The effect of Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra on CD69 expression and immune cell activation in humans. Phytother Res 2006;20(8):687-695. View abstract.
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- Chen, W. G. and Ba, Z. M. Prof. ZHANG Yi's experience in treating severe arrhythmia. J Tradit.Chin Med 2010;30(1):47-50. View abstract.
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- Chin, Y. W., Jung, H. A., Liu, Y., Su, B. N., Castoro, J. A., Keller, W. J., Pereira, M. A., and Kinghorn, A. D. Anti-oxidant constituents of the roots and stolons of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). J Agric Food Chem 6-13-2007;55(12):4691-4697. View abstract.
- Cooper, H., Bhattacharya, B., Verma, V., McCulloch, A. J., Smellie, W. S., and Heald, A. H. Liquorice and soy sauce, a life-saving concoction in a patient with Addison's disease. Ann Clin Biochem 2007;44(Pt 4):397-399. View abstract.
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- Final report on the safety assessment of Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Potassium Glycyrrhetinate, Disodium Succinoyl Glycyrrhetinate, Glyceryl Glycyrrhetinate, Glycyrrhetinyl Stearate, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Glycyrrhizic Acid, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disodium Glycyrrhizate, Trisodium Glycyrrhizate, Methyl Glycyrrhizate, and Potassium Glycyrrhizinate. Int J Toxicol 2007;26 Suppl 2:79-112. View abstract.
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