Licorice is a herbaceous plant whose root is known for its high medicinal value. The licorice root has a sweet, tart and lasting taste. In fact, licorice is referred as the sweet root in many ancient cultures. The black licorice root is extensively used in Ayurveda, an alternative medical practice which advocates holistic healing.
Black licorice is also added in herbal teas and candies. Consumption of black licorice beyond the dosage advised can pose health hazards.
This sweet root is low in fat and protein and high in carbohydrates and provides more number of calories. It also contains the mineral sodium in abundance. It has natural sugar – in fact, the sweetness in black licorice is much more than that in sugar. The compound,glycyrrhin, is responsible for the sweetness in black licorice. It also contains antioxidants, demulcents and is anti-viral.
For the seasonal cold and cough:
- Black licorice extracts are helpful in decongesting the lungs.
- In Ayurveda, it is used as a prime ingredient in cough syrups and tonics.
- It clears the chest of phlegm and cures conditions like bronchitis, laryngitis and cough.
For arthritic pain relief:
- Black licorice is anti-inflammatory in nature. Hence, it is useful in controlling symptoms of arthritis like joint pain and swelling. Consume it as a herbal tea to get the benefits.
- Its functions are similar to those of painkiller medicines. However, it gives long-lasting results without causing side effects.
- The extract of this herb contains demulcents called saponins, which coat a soothing film of mucous over the painful joints. This gives relief from pain.
- However, arthritic patients who have other health problems should consult the doctor before trying this self-remedy.
- Extracts of black licorice root help in reducing the symptoms of PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome) in women.
- As an ingredient in herbal medicines, it is effective in curing such problems in women as infertility, delayed and irregular menstruation.
- Women’s health, to a great extent, depends on hormonal balance. Licorice contains phytoestrogen, a compound similar to estrogen, the female hormone. Due to this fact, licorice is effective in checking hormonal imbalance and regulating menstruation.
For the skin and hair:
- Black licorice root extract is very useful in controlling many skin ailments.
- Applying it on the affected skin relieves patients from many conditions like acne, eczema, rashes and itchiness.
- Being anti-inflammatory and anti-viral in nature, black licorice works by killing the pathogens and reducing the itchiness.
- Its efficacy has been established in curing other skin ailments like psoriasis, herpes and shingles.
- Intake of licorice extract, in prescribed doses, improved the condition of hair. Over a period of time, hair fall was reduced and the hair became healthy and radiant.
For better digestion:
- Licorice has a mild laxative effect. In combination with other drugs, it is prescribed for conditions like constipation, in ayurveda.
- It acts by cleaning the stomach and intestines by getting rid of accumulated putregying remnants. Thus, any kind of abdominal discomfort including gas, bloating, flatulence etc., are eradicated.
- It is helpful in curing duodenal ulcer.
Protection against tumours and cancers:
- The efficacy of licorice as an anti-tumour agent, is being studied extensively.
- It was found during experimental studies that black licorice contains antiogenic agents which stimulated the death of cancer cells, especially in colon cancer.
Consumption of licorice, in any form, should be restricted to the dosage and duration, as advised by the expert. Too much of it causes many adverse effects on the body. Patients suffering from conditions like heart problems, kidney diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes, should exercise extreme caution in using black licorice. It is contra-indicated for pregnant women.