Licorice Root (Mulethi)
Licorice root is one of the oldest perennial herbs that is considered one of the oldest herbal remedies. It comes from the plant Glycyrrhizaglabra (Fabaceae) which is native to Western Asia and Southern Europe. The plant Glycyrrhiza is derived from the ancient Greek term ‘glykos’ meaning sweet and ‘rhiza’ meaning root. It is locally known as Mulethi, Licorice or sweet root. It is spelled as “liquorice” in the literature but “licorice” is written mostly as well. The unpeeled dried roots, runners and rhizome (underground stem) are 50 times sweeter than sugarcane(sucrose). Their sweetness is different from sugar in taste, less instant and persists in the mouth for a longer time. This sweetness isdue to the presence of glycyrrhizin which is the important constituent of Licorice root. It is used in Chinese, Greek and Middle Eastern traditional medicines to treat various disorders. The major countries that produces Licorice are India, Iran, Italy, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.
Phytochemical Constituents of Licorice Roots
Licorice roots contains hundreds of compounds but the major component is Glycyrrhizin(also known as glycyrrhizic acid) which is responsible for its sweet taste and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Benefits of Licorice Roots
- Skin Care: Licorice roots extract is used to treat a variety of skin condition including eczema and acne.
- Boost up Immunity: Licorice roots reduce general debility, weakness & fatigue and improve the levels of energy the body.
- Reduce Indigestion: Licorice root extract is used to relieve symptoms of indigestion and heartburn.
- Treat Peptic Ulcers: Licorice roots helps to treat peptic ulcers which causes painful sores in stomach, esophagus and small intestine.
- Anti-cancer: Licorice roots have anticancer properties that prevent cancer cell growth in skin, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.
- Upper Respiratory Disorders: Licorice root extract and tea aid in upper respiratory disorders and helps relieve asthma, coughs, sore throats, chills, pneumonia, and lung diseases.
- Teeth Protection: Licorice roots may help protect against bacteria that can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
- Aid Diabetes: Licorice root extract reduces the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients and improves kidney health.
- Weight Loss: Licorice root extract lowers body mass index (BMI) and supports weight loss.
- Anti-stress: Licorice root helps to relieve stress and enhance memory.
- Aid Hepatitis C:Licorice roots helps to treat Hepatitis C.
- Promotes Hormones:Licorice root improves the functioning of adrenal hormone in the people who take steroid drugswhich suppress the normal functioning of adrenal hormones.
- Treat Menopause: Licorice roots help to relieves menstrual cramps and menopause including hot flashes.
- Reduce Hair fall: Licorice roots prevent hair fall and used in various kinds of shampoos.
- Treat Snakebites: Licorice roots may be used as an antivenin.
How to take Licorice in Diet
- Licorice roots taken both in fresh and dried form.
- It is also available in several products such as powder, capsule, tincture, candy, gel and tea.
- It is consumed in the form of natural beverages in hot regions especially in the month of “Ramadan”.
- It is used as a thirst quencher and made into sweet liquid drink by many manufacturing companies.
- Many snacks contain licorice extract such as licorice sticks, toffee bars, blackcurrant, Pontefract cakes and chewing gums.
- It is also used by tobacco companies as a flavoring agentto mask the bitter taste of tobacco.
- The dried sticks are sold simply as ‘sweet wood’ to chew on as a candy or mouth freshener.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and European Scientific Committee of Food (SCF) both recommend limiting glycyrrhizin intake to no more than 100 mg per day which may result in adverse effectssuch as hypokalemia, increased blood pressure and muscle weakness.
How to make Licorice Tea
Boil water in a pan and add a small piece of Licorice root and ginger in it. Add black or green tea leaves in it. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add sugar for taste if needed. Filter the tea and served it. This tea helps to reduce the stress, bacteria in oral cavities,bad breath, plaque, tooth cavities, and keeping the gums and teeth healthy and strong.