Licorice is a plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. With the scientific name Glycyrrhiza glabra , it is originally from Europe and soon spread around the world. It has been used for medicinal use since Antiquity, with reports of its use by the Egyptians in their papyrus.
Popularly known as sweet root, sweet stick or licorice, licorice has sweet roots with a pleasant flavor and aroma. Its roots extract a syrup, rich in glycyrrhizin, its medicinal property can be used in confectionery, medicines and even in the production of some beers.
It is from the syrup extracted from its root that you can still produce sweet licorice, like gelatin and licorice candy, a long, nutritious and tasty candy. In addition, there is black licorice candy, which although little known in Brazil, is widely consumed in the United States.
Licorice root has many benefits and the properties of licorice have made it a scientifically proven medicinal plant for a variety of problems including kidney, liver, hormonal imbalances and ulcers. If that wasn’t enough, there is evidence that licorice loses weight.
The use of licorice for slimming purposes has been growing since it was discovered that its tea has the power to reduce appetite and the desire to ingest sweets and fatty foods. When combined with a good diet and physical exercise, licorice enhances fat burning, so much so that the licorice capsule oil is being sold for consumption before physical activities.
HOW TO INCLUDE LICORICE IN THE DIET
Licorice can be converted and consumed as a tea, dry extract, capsule or syrup for medicinal use. However, for home use, root tea is the most consumed. For those wondering where to buy licorice, licorice is very affordable and dried root is easily found in tea shops and natural products.
Licorice tea has laxative properties and, for its preparation, the roots must be cut into small pieces to extract as much as possible of the glycyrrhizin contained in its root. About 30g of the chopped root should be added to a liter of boiling water, leaving it for another 10 minutes and then smothering. Strained tea should be consumed from two to three cups a day, one in the morning and the other two preferably after main meals.
You can also consume the liquid extract of licorice. For this, use 250g of the root to a liter of water. Leave the roots immersed for approximately three days in water and, after this period, consume two to three tablespoons a day. For culinary use, it has powdered licorice that can be added to juice, water, desserts, fruit, coconut water and gelatins. The fresh leaf can be chewed in order to combat bad breath caused by stomach problems.
Licorice syrup, extracted from the roots, is most used on an industrial scale for the manufacture of food and sweets such as licorice candies and also for medicinal purposes, being found in pharmacies. This herbal medicine is indicated for allergic and respiratory crises in children and adults, for which the dose indicated on the package must be respected.
INDICATIONS AND BENEFITS OF LICORICE
The medicinal use of licorice encompasses several properties that are good for the digestive system, kidneys, respiratory system and even hormonal control. It is also used to treat asthma, bronchitis, allergies, hepatitis, diabetes, among others. Its use extends to the cosmetics market, where it acts to prevent and combat hyperpigmentation and skin aging.
Its hormonal, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, protective of the gastric mucosa, laxative, anti-spasmodic, anti-hepatotoxic, make licorice an important ally in combating various diseases, so much so that its use as a medicinal plant is recognized.
Because it is rich in flavonoids, licorice root has an anti-inflammatory action that is effective in various inflammations, even skin inflammation. It is these same flavonoids that are responsible for the hormonal balance, making the consumption of licorice beneficial for people who suffer from thyroid disorders and also for women who suffer from PMS, climacteric and other menstrual disorders.
Its action on the digestive system is given by the gastrointestinal protection that helps in the healing of ulcers and gastritis of nervous origin. In the liver, the plant helps in the treatment of type A, B and C hepatitis, accelerating the organ’s recovery. It also helps to reduce fat accumulated in the liver resulting from poor diet or genetic propensity.
Licorice is even beneficial for individuals suffering from high cholesterol and diabetes. The plant has antioxidant properties that help prevent stroke and cancer, in addition to reducing bad cholesterol. For diabetics, its benefits are even greater, as licorice is sweetened, it can be used as a natural sweetener without glucose. Its tea has diuretic properties and a substance contained in the plant helps to lower blood glucose levels.
- Protects the digestive system and treats stomach ulcers : licorice teas as an emollient and protects the lining of the esophagus and stomach, preventing damage caused by gastric juice. Therefore, the plant is used to treat digestive problems, including acid reflux and stomach ulcers. It can also be beneficial for thrush and mouth ulcers.
- Beneficial for post-menopausal women : Licorice root tea has shown estrogenic effects which are extremely beneficial for post-menopausal women and may even protect against coronary heart disease.
- Beneficial to treat liver diseases : Licorice has been used to treat various liver diseases, including hepatitis. This plant detoxifies the liver, reduces the fat present in the organ and increases its regeneration.
- It has antidepressant properties: licorice regulates hormones and can be considered a natural antidepressant. The greater stability and correct functioning of the glands, makes a balance of hormones in the body, resulting in greater control of stress, anxiety, a higher mood, eliminating depression.
- Helps in the treatment of flu, colds and coughs : the anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties of licorice are beneficial for the treatment of flu, colds, coughs, asthma and other respiratory allergies. Its tea boosts the body’s immunity and unblocks the airways, clears the lungs and ensures faster symptom relief.
- Helps in the treatment of arthritis : its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce swelling and pain caused by arthritis.
- Reduces cholesterol and prevents heart disease : licorice reduces bad cholesterol and the less cholesterol, the less chance of forming plaques attached to the walls of the arteries, which we call atherosclerosis. Thus, licorice promotes its protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
- Beneficial for those with low blood pressure: in cases of hypotension, or low blood pressure, the most common symptoms are dizziness, weakness, low energy, rapid heartbeat, cold sweats and feeling faint. In these cases of pressure drop, two cups of licorice tea are enough to raise the pressure to the required level.
- Licorice Tea Fights Yeast Infections : One of the most common fungal infections in women is the vaginal infection caused by Candida Albicans. Researches reported that the consumption of liquorice would be beneficial and able to fight this type of infection.
- Licorice can be a sugar substitute: Licorice is a sweet plant and extracts from its root can replace sugar, which is extremely beneficial for diabetic individuals where sugar consumption is banned or for those seeking a healthier substitute for the sugar.
- Licorice helps combat premenstrual symptoms : its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic action, as well as its estrogenic properties alleviate PMS symptoms such as cramps, mood swings and cravings for sweets.
- Beneficial for oral health: oral problems such as gingivitis and thrush can be treated and prevented by drinking licorice tea or gargle, this is due to the plant’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.