Liquorice - An Ancient Medicinal Cure
Liquorice, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a legume that has been cultivated for its valuable roots for thousands of years. Liquorice root has been known as a medicinal cure in many ancient civilisations, from Egypt to China.
Liquorice can be used in its root form, as an extract, or as a candy. Liquorice roots contain dried rhizomes. Boiling the liquorice root and extracting the remains, which when solidified, make the liquorice extract found in our imported liquorice products.
These days, liquorice root is best known for its use in flavouring confectionery. This is no surprise, as liquorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is 30-50 fifty times sweeter than sugar.
This same super-sweet substance is now scientifically recognised for its medicinal value and health benefits. In fact, liquorice was dubbed the “Medicinal plant of 2012”. Several research studies published in the past few years have hailed liquorice as a remedial substance for ailments such as inflammatory stomach conditions, indigestion, sore throat, and recently even diabetes.
Liquorice root has been used in the treatment of many health conditions including asthma, body odour, chronic fatigue, depression, obesity, sore throats, coughs, colds & flu symptoms, bronchitis, gingivitis and tooth decay, sores, infections caused by viruses such as hepatitis, fungal infections, athlete's foot, heartburn, constipation, peptic ulcer, liver problems, emphysema, psoriasis, shingles, skin rash, hyperpigmentation, baldness, tuberculosis, yeast infections, hormone regulation, mood swings, hot flashes associated with menopause, PMS, muscle cramps, prostate enlargement, bursitis, tendinitis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.
All that being said, we are only able to make claims that are either approved by the UK government or “on hold” (These are claims that have been submitted for authorisation, but a decision has not yet been reached on their validity)
Known Medicinal properties of liquorice
Claims that the UK governemtn currently allow us to make regarding liquorice root are that:
- It supports the effective function of the digestive system and helps to eliminate digestive discomfort.
- It soothes the upper respiratory tract and helps to keep it comfortable - helping keep the airways clear. This helps soothe the common cold, something liquorice has been used for in the West for centuries.
- It helps in maintaining a good skin complexion.
- It supports mental function & calmness.
- Its significant antioxidant properties help support the immune system.
- It can help maintain the health and comfort of joints.
Liquorice is good for you – in moderation!
Whilst liquorice root extract offers a lot of benefits, as with most things in life too much of a good thing can be harmful.
The NHS (England) recommend that you eat no more than 57g (2 ounces) of black liquorice on a daily basis because it can lead to an increase in blood pressure and an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), especially if you are over 40 and have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure. This is based on a European Commission published that suggested that people should not consume any more than 100mg of glycyrrhizic acid a day (One of the main active ingredients found in liquorice root extract).
As the Dutch (The worlds leading consumers of liquorice) know well: If you have been eating a lot of black liquorice and have heart palpitations, muscle weakness or other health-related problems, stop eating it immediately.