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Glycyrrhiza glabraGlycyrrhiza glabra (Leguminosae)

LIQUORICE, REGLISSE, LACRISSE

 

One of the most used medicines of the ancient world, the root is still given by herbalists for peptic ulcers, bronchitis, and rheumatism. Chinese medicine prescribes it for similar complaints. Orthodox medicine gives extracts for peptic ulcers.

 

Liquorice was one of the most widely known medicines in ancient history, and records of its use abound in manuscripts ranging from the Assyrian tablets of about 2,000BC to Chinese herbals from the same period. Today, liquorice extracts are used in pharmaceutical drugs for peptic ulcers, and as a general flavouring for drugs and foods. Native to Europe and Asia, liquorice is widely grown around the world, and several species have been used for commercial extracts. A complex of thick roots sends up erect stems bearing leaves of oval leaflets and clusters of small pink to violet flowers during mid- to late summer.

 

PARTS USED

Root.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Glycyrrhizin; glycyrrhetinic acid; flavonoids and isoflavonoids; coumarins.

 

ACTIONS

Stimulates the cortex of the adrenal gland; soothes internal body surfaces; antiinflammatory; expectorant; reduces muscle tension and spasm; mimics oestrogen; antiallergic; a liver protectant.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given for peptic ulcers, which it both relieves and heals, bronchial catarrh, sore throats, gastritis (stomach inflammation), rheumatic conditions, and mild allergic asthma. One of the most widely used herbs in Chinese prescriptions, when it is given for abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, chesty coughs, dry sore throats, abscesses, and hepatitis.

 

PREPARATIONS

Extract, tincture, tablets, pharmaceutical preparations.

 

CAUTION

Long term usage at high doses may cause sodium retention, low potassium levels, and high blood pressure.

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