Licorice Root Image

By: Christian Dischler

Licorice root’s value goes beyond providing the polarizing flavor to the eponymous candy.  For generations this versatile root has been used in recipes and medicine across the globe.  Ranging from ancient Egyptian tea blends to something as simple as an all-natural multivitamin supplement, its importance cannot be understated.  It’s the anti-viral super food spearheading our body’s fight against infection, inflammation, heartburn and fatigue.

Originally utilized for its sugar-like properties, licorice now represents much more with its role in the super food world.  It contains many phytonutrients, such as glycyrrhizin acid (GL), which gives it the sweetness and flagship flavor that’s known worldwide. What’s not as known is how beneficial GL is for the human body in balanced doses.  It provides an advantage against viruses and bacteria, helping create an unfavorable environment for infections to thrive, while simultaneously assisting to remove them.  This includes infections like COVID-19, Hepatitis C and herpetic viruses like shingles.  This is a crucial component to what makes licorice root valuable, and ongoing studies continue to support its effectiveness.  However, knowing its benefits means also knowing it’s risks.  Moderation is important with GL, as long-term abuse of it can result in issues such as edema.  If you intend for long-term or heavy use, consider a deglycyrrhizinated (DGL) version, which has a substantial amount less.  

The most accessible form of licorice root outside of a supplement is herbal tea.  This ancient root has long been the centerpiece in a variety of cultures as they harness its medicinal powers in the form of tea.  Next time you’re in the grocery have a look at the multitude of licorice-infused teas that are available.  You might be surprised how many different ailments they treat.  It’s often recommended as a digestive aid in the wake of a large or questionable meal.  If you suffer from chronic stomach pain, such as GERD, its soothing qualities will promote natural digestion and regularity.  It also provides a substantial boost to the human adrenal glands, and outperforms other popular herbs like ginseng in recharging our batteries.  

If treating the above symptoms isn’t a priority, consider licorice root as a natural method to help you quit smoking, or as a substitute for the ever-popular caffeine addiction.  It’s truly a wonder the power contained within this mighty root and how many benefits it can bring to the human experience.  Next time you ignore all the black jellybeans, remember that the flavor is only a fraction of this complex super food. 

The most accessible form of licorice root outside of a supplement is tea.

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