What is Natural Licorice?

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  • Written By: Deneatra Harmon
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 26 January 2019
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Natural licorice herbs and roots can be used as food as well as medicine. The plant has reportedly treated mild illnesses and other medical conditions. Dosage amounts for natural licorice vary depending on the person, use, or medical condition. Medical sources strongly recommend taking licorice under a doctor’s care because the natural supplement produces some side effects.

Known by its scientific name of Glycyrrhiza glabra, licorice grows as a perennial plant with a widespread root system and dark green leaves. The plant grows in most parts of the world, but is more common in Europe and Asia. Natural licorice, which grows up to 7 feet tall (approximately 213 cm), consists of glycyrrhizin, a sugary compound known for its use in drinks, candies, and other foods. The roots of natural licorice, whether peeled or unpeeled, often provide the medicinal properties. According to scientific resources, natural licorice root has been a mainstay in Eastern and Western medicine for several years.


Natural licorice treatment reportedly relieves anything from minor illnesses to skin conditions and digestive issues. Forms of natural licorice come in powder that can be used in teas as well as liquids and licorice capsules. The natural alternative may be effective in treating the common cold, cough, and sore throat, although medical research appears mixed. Topical licorice gel extract allegedly relieves itching, redness, and inflammation associated with eczema. Other studies note that licorice supplements may be effective in reducing symptoms of stomach ulcers, heartburn, and indigestion when combined with chamomile and peppermint extracts.

Adults and older children generally may take licorice supplements with a doctor’s approval. As an extract, adults may take licorice up to three times daily to treat a peptic ulcer. Adults may also drink licorice tea up to three times per day to relieve a common cold symptom such as a sore throat.

Children may consume up to one cup of licorice tea per day or chew on licorice roots to treat cold symptoms. In general, the appropriate dosage of licorice depends on the child’s weight. Experts warn against giving licorice to babies or toddlers because it may be harmful to them.

While natural supplements often provide health benefits, side effects still exist. For instance, natural licorice may interfere with the effectiveness of medications that treat kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. Taking too much licorice may result in the patient developing pseudoaldosteronism, a condition that affects the adrenal cortex. Symptoms include water retention, fatigue, headaches, and high blood pressure. To avoid any side effects, medical experts recommend taking licorice extract, capsules, or other supplements for no longer than six weeks.



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