Licorice

Glycyrrhiza glabra

© P.Han

Also known as weetwood, sweetroot or black sugar.

The story…

Licorice is native to the Middle East, the South of Europe and tempered regions of Asia. It grows on rich and humid soil, in a warm climate. The root is used for various candies and drinks. It was also used to make coco, a very popular cheap beverage sold in the streets of Paris and Brussels in the 18th-19th centuries. Its scientific name derives from Greek glucus, sweet, and rhiza, rhizome.

Uses

Anti-inflammatory

Licorice relieves various inflammations. For the respiratory system, it helps to treat bronchitis and eases inflammatory cough, or throat pain due to an allergy; it has also an expectorating effect. It helps to cure skin disorders, such as dermatitis, eczema, pruritis, etc., and smooths itching skin. It is also effective against joint inflammations, for example arthritis. Finally, it calms inflammations of the digestive system and helps cell regeneration, notably, in case of gastritis (stomach walls inflammation), stomach and duodenum ulcer, or mouth inflammations such as aphta or gum inflammation.

Antiviral

Licorice slows the development of certain viruses. It is used at the first signs of flu, for viral respiratory infections, pneumonia or against hepatitis A viruses.

Preparation

Infusion: 2 to 4 g dried root for 150ml water. Apply with compresses for skin diseases; use as a mouthwash for mouth inflammations; and drink 3 cups a day for other uses. Can be combined with thyme, eucalyptus or hyssop for the respiratory system, or with ribwort plantain for allergies.

Precautions

Use during 5 to 6 weeks maximum. Licorice is contraindicated for pregnant or nursing women, and people suffering hypertension, hypokalemia, kidney or heart insufficiency, edema, or having a history of hormone-dependent cancer. It is also contraindicated for people taking diuretic drugs, hypokalemiant laxatives, certain cardiac glycoside or anticoagulants of type anti-vitamin K. Professional advice is necessary for people taking corticosteroids or an oral contraceptive. In case of persistent symptoms or if you have any doubts, consult a doctor. 

© Yercaud Elango

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