Licorice root has been used in natural medicine as an adjunct to calm digestive discomfort. However, in some cases it is not recommended. What do you need to know about it?
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) ? is a natural ingredient that has been used since ancient times as a remedy for various types of ailments. Due to its characteristic sweet taste, it is also used in the industry as a sweetener and to soften the taste of some medications.
It can also be found in the form of herbal teas, capsules, extracts, and other presentations whose purpose is to serve as a supplement. Thus, there are those who use it to calm digestive discomfort, menopausal symptoms, infections, among other health problems.
But is it safe to use? Is there evidence about its properties? To date there is insufficient evidence to consider this root as a treatment for the disease. However, some studies support its use as an adjunct in the case of digestive discomfort.
What is Mulethi in Ayurveda?
Mulethi an important herb of ayurvedic medicine and been in use for ages it Pacifies Vata & Pitta dosha. Mulethi is also called Yashtimadhu in Ayurveda, and other regions names are as follows,
- Latin name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
- Bengali: Jashtimadhu
- English: Sweetwood, Liquorice, Licorice
- Gujrati: Jethi Madh
- Hindi: Mulhatti, Jethimadh, Mithilakdi
- Kannada: Jeshthamadhu
- Marathi: Jeshtamadhu
- Malayalam: Itarttimadhuram, Erattimadhuram
- Tamil: Atimadhuram
- Telugu: Atimadhuramu
It is an important herb used in Indian folk medicines and Ayurveda for ulcer, hyperacidity, joint pains, general debility, and many other diseases. It is due to its medicinal properties it is very effective, its properties such as analgesic agent, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, and antacid are beneficial.
Properties of licorice root
First of all, it is convenient to do a brief review of the properties that have been found in licorice root. According to information published in Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, more than 20 triterpenoids and almost 300 flavonoids have been found in this plant that could explain its pharmacological properties.
In general, it is said to have properties such as the following:
For now, the evidence in this regard is limited and the root remains a subject of study. However, some researchers suggest that its effects hold promise for the future development of effective and affordable drugs.
Does the licorice root help calm your stomach?
Some of the chemicals in licorice root, such as flavonoids, are believed to help reduce bloating and speed relief of gastrointestinal problems. Regarding this, there is still no solid evidence, but some studies have made interesting findings.
For example, a double-blind study published in the medical journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that an extract containing gabardine and glabrate, a flavonoid present in licorice root, was helpful in calming stomach upset such as nausea, abdominal pain, and heartburn. Meanwhile, a review published in Phytotherapy Research shows that glycyrrhizinic acid, contained in this root, has anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory properties that contribute to fighting the H. Pylori bacteria, a microorganism that causes various digestive disorders, such as ulcers.
There was also evidenced in a clinical trial published in The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, in which 120 people found positive effects against H. Pylori eradication by adding licorice extract to their standard treatment.
Is it safe to use this remedy?
Before trying licorice root as a supplement against digestive problems, it is important to consult the doctor to establish a safe dose depending on the case. In addition, the professional will help to establish if there are contraindications or possible drug interactions.
According to information compiled by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)?, no person should consume licorice root in excessive amounts or for long periods. Excesses can cause high blood pressure and low potassium levels, which in turn increases the risk of heart and muscle disorders.
Its consumption is not recommended in the case of pregnancy. On the other hand, consuming licorice root supplements simultaneously with diuretic medications can be harmful to the heart. Other possible drug interactions include the following:
- Medicines to regulate heart rhythm.
- Potassium reducers.
- Blood thinners, such as warfarin.
- Estrogens, hormonal therapy, and birth control pills.
- heartburn and licorice root
How to consume this remedy in case of stomach upset?
- Currently, licorice root is available in chewable tablets, liquid extracts, capsules, powder, or as a loose herb. Often, people choose to use it in its natural form to prepare infusions. However, it is important to consume it on time, in moderate amounts, to avoid the side effects of excesses.
- In the general daily intake of 5-6 grams of licorice powder is considered safe, if using concentrated extracts 250-500 mg can be taken thrice a day.
- Now, in case of stomach discomfort, it is usually advisable to add liquid licorice extract to a natural drink, or in hot water. It is even advisable to put a few drops under the tongue to calm discomfort such as heartburn.
- In any case, it is essential to keep in mind that it is not a first-line treatment for disorders of the digestive system. Therefore, before digestive symptoms, consulting the doctor or gastroenterologist is essential.
Note: Unsupervised use in high doses for the long term is not recommended. While people with heart disease, hypertension, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers should avoid without prior consultation with an Ayurveda doctor.