5 Health Benefits Of Licorice Root

1. Reduce Body Fat

Consuming 2.5 grams of pure licorice root extract per day for 2 months had the effect of reducing body fat mass in a group of healthy volunteers. The study, published in 2014, measured extracellular water that can contribute to excess weight, body mass index, and body fat mass before and after the trial period. Although water levels rose and body mass index remained unchanged, skin fold thickness was reduced after consuming licorice – even though the subjects’ caloric intake remained the same.

Another study involved using glycyrrhetinic acid topically to specifically target fatty areas on the body. The cream was prepared with 2.5% GA and the participants applied 80 mg per day to their thighs for one month. Using ultrasound analysis, the researchers found that GA cream treatment significantly reduced the thickness of superficial layers of fat. Although the dosage of GA was moderately low and the study’s subjects were in the normal BMI range, the authors speculate that topical creams could have an even greater effect on people who struggle with obesity and the over-accumulation of fat in the thighs and abdomen.

2. Enhance Learning & Boost Memory

Licorice root contains several antioxidants, including isoflavans, chalcones, and isoflavones, that may contribute to brain health. In an animal study, groups of mice were fed 150 mg/kg of licorice root extract over the course of seven days. In experiments meant to measure cognitive abilities, such as mazes and passive avoidance tests, the mice showed a marked increase in learning and memory. Taking these results a step further, the researchers fed the mice diazepam and scopolamine to induce amnesia; when fed licorice root, the amnesiac effects were completely reversed.

3. Antidepressant

Comparable to Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Tofranil (Imipramine) in its effects, licorice root has proven to be an effective treatment for depression according an animal study published in 2006. At a dose of 150 mg/kg each day, the mice showed an increase in mobility when subjected to various stress tests traditionally used to evaluate antidepressant drugs. Licorice root was found to be effective for depression because it increases the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, the brain’s feel good chemicals.

4. Natural Relief For Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause and can persist for several years. Though hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is fairly effective for mitigating the discomforts of menopausal transition, this treatment can increase your risk factor for heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots.

Licorice root has long been used as a natural treatment for menopausal symptoms due to its estrogen-like activity in the body. Comparing the effects of licorice and HRT on 60 menopausal women, a 2014 study found that licorice exerted a similar effect on hot flashes as hormone therapy. Over a 90 day period, half of the women received 1140 mg of licorice while the other half were given estrogen and progestin. Although both therapies reduced the number and duration of hot flashes, licorice was particularly good for curtailing the length of hot flashes and HRT was better at lessening hot flash severity.


5. Sore Throat & Cough Remedy

Using licorice root as a remedy for coughs and sore throats goes back to prehistory. The glycyrrhetinic acid in licorice roots is a powerful anti-inflammatory, capable of inhibiting the activity of cyclooxygenases and prostaglandin that can cause irritation in bodily tissues.

According to a study published in 2013, licorice does indeed help prevent and soothe irritated airways. Because post-operative sore throat is a common complication, the study comprised of 236 patients who were to be intubated and anesthetised prior to surgery. Groups were tasked with either gargling a solution of 0.5 gram of licorice diluted in 30 ml of water or sugar water for 1 minute before the surgery. Those who took licorice water had a significant reduction of incidence of sore throat and coughing, the effects of which endured for several hours afterwards.

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