Licorice root, also called “sweet root,” is a centuries-old food and medicinal herb. Both Eastern and Western medicine utilize licorice as a treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to the common cold to diseases of the liver. And while you might enjoy the taste of licorice in black bits or strips, candy sold in the United States contains only anise oil, which has a licorice-like flavor but is derived from the Pimpinella Anisum plant.
Licorice Root for Anxiety
The University of Maryland Medical Center says some people use licorice root for anxiety to treat it. Signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Racing heartbeat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach ache
- Difficulty breathing
Talk to a trusted health adviser about proper dosing and forms of licorice for your condition.
Licorice for Peptic Ulcers
Some forms of licorice help people with peptic ulcers. In fact, studies show Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, also called DGL, worked as well as prescription medications when combined with antacids.
Licorice for Eczema
Topical forms of licorice help ease symptoms of eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects people of all ages. By soothing irritated skin, products containing licorice help reduce redness, swelling and itchy skin that occurs with eczema outbreaks.
Other Uses for Licorice
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine names licorice as a treatment for bronchitis, sore throat, infections and viruses. The herb is thought to stimulate the immune system, and thereby be an effective remedy for an array of ailments.
Safety and Cautions
Licorice root is available in a variety of forms, including teas, capsules and topical applications. Before you use licorice, you should discuss its safety with a professional. People who use certain medications, such as diuretics, corticosteroids and oral contraceptives, may be at risk for drug interactions. Additionally, licorice may not be safe for people with certain medical condition, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease.
References: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/licoriceroot/
University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm