Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

Family : Fabaceae

Synonym(s) : Glycyrrhiza glandulifera (Waldst.&Kit.)

English Name : Licorice or Liquorice, Sweet Licorice, Sweet Wood

Origin : Warmer parts of the Mediterranean


The plants are graceful, with light, spreading, pinnate foliage, presenting an almost feathery appearance from a distance. The leaflets hang down during the night on each side of the midrib. From the axils of the leaves spring racemes or spikes of papilionaceous small pale-blue, violet, yellowish-white or purplish flowers, followed by small pods somewhat resembling a partly-grown peapod in form. The underground system is double, the one part consisting of a vertical or tap root, often with several branches penetrating to a depth of 3 or 4 feet, the other of horizontal rhizomes, or stolons, thrown off from the root below the surface of the ground, which attain a length of many feet.


Hilly parts and forests of Jammu, Punjab and Kashmir; also in Russia, Iran, southern Europe, Syria, Iraq and Turkey.
Parts Used : Root and rhizome

Herb Effects

Antiinflammatory, expectorant, antidiuretic, antihistaminic and antiulcer (glycyrrhizin), antiviral (glycyrrhizic acid),depurative, stimulates secretion of aldosterone from the adrenal cortex, encourages production of hormones (including hydrocortisone).

Active Ingredients

Acetic acid, acetophenone, anethol, apigenin, ascorbic acid, benzoic acid, benzyl-alcohol, beta-amyrin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, camphor, carvacrol, choline, estragole, estriol, eugenol, formononetin, geraniol, glycyrrhetinic-acid, glycyrrhizin, guaiacol, herniarin, indole, niacin, p-cymene, palmitic acid, salicyclic acid, thiamin, thujone, thymol, umbelliferone (root); alpha-terpineol, benzaldehyde, terpinen-4-ol (rhizome essential oil); astragalin, bergapten, galangin, genistein, kaempferol, naringenin, pinocembrin, xanthotoxin (shoot); betaine, ferulic acid, glycyrrhetic acid, glycyrrhizic acid, isoquercitrin, quercetin, vitexin, (plant); nicotinic acid (leaf).

Medicinal Use

In diabetes, epilepsy, as an antidote, tonic, depurifying agent, treating upper respiratory ailments (such as asthma, bronchitis, cough, hoarseness and sore throat), rheumatism, arthritis, for ulcers and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract.


Infusion or briefly boiled decoction of 1 tsp of finely crushed drug/cup water. 1 to 3 times per day
20 g of solid extract, dissolved in a glass of chamomile tea (this is consumed over the course of a day (after meals) for three days).
Dried root: 1-4 g three times daily.
Tincture(1:5): 5-15 ml three times daily.


Should not be used by people with high blood pressure; should not be used with drugs derived from Digitalis.


1. Bentley and Trimen, The Himalaya Drug Company.

2. Chandel et al, Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.

3. Das, S.K.; Das V, Gulati AK, Singh VP. Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice in aphthous ulcers. The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (Association of Physicians of India) 37 (10): 647.

4. Duke, J. A. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs . Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1985.

5. Krausse, R.; Bielenberg J. Blaschek W. & Ullmann U. (2004). "In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Extractum liquiritiae, glycyrrhizin and its metabolites". The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (Oxford University Press) 54 (1): 243–246.

6. Sigurjónsdóttir, H.A., et al. Liquorice-induced rise in blood pressure: a linear dose-response relationship. Journal of Human Hypertension (2001) 15, 549-552.

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