Liquorice root offers many health benefits which include anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties, heals wounds faster, has expectorant properties, helps in reducing fevers, acts as a pain killer, can heal gastric ulcers and has hepato or liver protective properties. Even with these health benefits, there are certain risks associated with consuming liquorice.
Liquorice has been a traditionally used plant. It is believed to a native of the Mediterranean region and other parts of Asia. The root of liquorice has been used for centuries because of its sweet flavor and of course for its medicinal properties. The name liquorice has been derived from the French word licoresse, which in turn has been derived from the Greek word glukurrhiza, which means sweet root. This plant has a significant role in ancient medicinal systems around the world including Greece, India and China. Liquorice root has a typical sweet flavor. This flavor was used in candies and sweets, earlier but today they have been replaced with similar tasting aniseed oil. The sweetness of Liquorice comes from a biochemical glcyrrhizin and it has a sweet taste which is around 30 times sweeter than regular sugar.
Health benefits of Liquorice roots for kids and nursing mothers
Here are some of the health benefits of Liquorice roots for kids and nursing mothers.
Source: American Spa.com
- Possesses anti-microbial properties: Liquorice root has anti-microbial properties. The root is particularly good in controlling bacterial strains like salmonella typhi, S. paratyphi, ETEC E. coli, shigella sonnei, s.flexneri, etc. Apart from this, liquorice root has anti-fungal properties as well. It can control Arthrinium sacchari M001 and Chaetomium funicola M002, candida albicans, Mycobacterium smegmatis, etc.
- Has anti-oxidant properties: Liquorice root possesses anti-oxidants in large amounts. Anti-oxidants are some of the very important organic compounds that our body needs. Every day, our body produces free radicals, a certain type of organic chemical residues. These residues can damage our cells and tissues. The electrons release initially can actually perpetuate the further release of electrons from other cells. This can make free radicals a problematic issue. This overtime free radical damage can be reduced by the intake of anti-oxidant foods. The anti-oxidants present in liquorice root help in reducing the free radical activity to a great extent.
- Possesses anti-malarial properties: It might seem surprising, but liquorice root does show anti-malarial activity, as noted by WebMD. One study noted that the extracts from liquorice root completely eradicated malaria parasite, without any serious side effects. This is indeed a good news for both pharmaceutical companies as well as for individual concerned about malaria.
- Has shown anti-viral activity: It might not be very surprising note that liquorice root possesses anti-viral properties as well, apart from anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It has been noted that liquorice root can eliminate viruses such as vaccinia, herpes simplex, vesicular stomatitis virus, type A influenza virus, coronavirus, etc. The elimination of these viruses was noted to be more effective than standard anti-viral medications.
- Has shown expectorant properties: Having expectorant properties makes Liquorice root a handy home remedy for reducing cough, dry throat and irritations. This is done as liquorice root stimulates the secretion of mucus in the throat, thereby reducing throat irritation and cough.
- Possesses hepatoprotective properties: Liquorice root possesses hepatoprotective or liver protective properties. Some studies have shown that it can decrease inflammation in liver caused by damage. And it also helped in reversing liver damage.
- Can help in healing wounds faster: Liquorice root is very much helpful in healing wounds faster. Studies have shown that by applying liquorice root extract on wounds, they healed much faster when compared to wounds that were untreated.
- Can help in reducing fevers and acts as pain killer: The extracts from liquorice root also showed it can act as a fever reducing agent and can also reduce pain. When the extract was applied on the skin, it penetrated very well and acted on the pain.
- Has ulcer healing properties as well: Liquorice root has also showed gastric ulcer healing. It has been noted that gastric ulcers were reduced significantly, that too, only few hours after giving liquorice root extracts.
- Promotes dental health: Apart from the above mentioned healing properties, Liquorice root can also help in reducing the development of dental caries. Dental caries is very common in the world, today, especially among children who are used to having sweet foods. As residual sugars get stuck in between the teeth, it encourages the growth of bacteria, which results in dental caries. This can be reduced to a great extent by taking liquorice root.
Can Liquorice root be given to kids?
According to WebMD, Liquorice is one of those no-nonsensical herbal plant with possesses serious medicinal properties and it is not just a candy flavoring agent. Accordingly, it suggests that for children not more than 4 – 5 grams of liquorice root could be used and not more than that. There are risks involved when large doses of liquorice root is given. It says that it can cause headaches, fatigue, salt water retention, potassium loss, high blood pressure and cardiac arrest, in the worst case scenario. So, it is advised to be very careful while dealing with liquorice root.
After administering a herbal medicine like liquorice, if you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms, please contact your pediatrician immediately without any delay.
Risks of taking excess liquorice
Apart from possessing these many healing properties and health benefits, there are few issues with liquorice as well. Excessive consumption or prolonged ingestion of liquorice can increase sodium retention in the body and increase hypertension or high blood pressure. So, use of liquorice root is recommended at low to moderate levels. In one study, a woman who ate 100g of liquorice and an oral contraceptive daily experienced high blood pressure at 190/120 mm Hg.
Is liquorice safe for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are advised not to take liquorice root because consuming it in large amounts can increase the risk of preterm labor.
Can liquorice be taken by nursing or breastfeeding mothers?
There have been extreme cases where nursing or breastfeeding mothers were taking excess amounts (2 liters per day) of herbal tea which included liquorice, fennel, anise and goat’s rue. The infants became very weak with lethargy, weak cry, weak sucking and hardly responded to painful stimuli. Only after stopping the intake of herbal tea did the
If you are using diuretic medications, then avoid using liquorice because it can dangerously decrease potassium levels in the body and sometimes it can be fatal.
Though, liquorice offers numerous health benefits, we suggest that you consume liquorice root with extreme caution and never consume it in high quantities or do not prolong the use.