Licorice therapeutic and slimming properties and benefits for digestion are discussed here.Although it seems to have a warmer and winter taste, excellent thirst-quenching summer drinks are produced to be kept in the refrigerator. The licorice plant, Glycyrriza glabra, is perennial and can reach 2 m in height.
The large rhizome produces stolons (like branches) that crawl on the ground and from which other roots branch off; its flowers, purple in color, are gathered in clusters, it is a very beautiful tree! Of the licorice are mainly used the roots that are harvested in autumn from plants of at least 3 years, which are dried, ground, the juice is extracted with boiling water and filtered, obtaining a dark and soft pasta, the one we know. The year in which it is decided to gather the roots, the pruning is performed in order not to allow the flowers to deprive the roots of the juice.
Licorice, did you know it’s a spice? Yes, it is naturally sweet, emollient, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.Licorice is used as a sweetener and flavor corrector, it is found in roots that can be sucked but also used for decoctions, in juice, in mother tincture, in herbal teas and in powder. By adding arabic gum to pure juice, hard liquorice is obtained which is sold in the shape of logs, strings and other sweets. Glycyrriza glabra is native to Asia, it grows throughout Italy, but is more widespread in the South, in sandy soils along the coasts. In Italy, the production of liquorice is a tradition in Rossano, Calabria, where the Liquorice Museum is open, but also in Abruzzo, the second Italian producing region.
What are the beneficial principles contained
Licorice is a very interesting plant from the phytotherapeutic point of view, it contains: glycyrrhizic acid, plant hormones (phytosterols), flavonoids (antioxidants), saponins and group b vitamins.
What are the properties of licorice and when can it be useful
- Sedative and anti-inflammatory properties attributed to glycyrrhizic acid, make it useful in case of cough and to facilitate expectoration of phlegm, favored by saponins. In this case, we recommend the root decoction, to be taken 3 times a day, sweetened with eucalyptus honey.
- Heartburn and intestinal cramps. It soothes and protects the gastrointestinal mucous membranes by forming a protective film. It is used in juice obtained by maceration in cold water, pressing and boiling, to obtain the necessary concentration, of the root and is ready in the herbalist’s shops. It is also useful in case of constipation and aerophagia.
- Duodenal ulcer. The usefulness of licorice has been demonstrated by scientific research, which confirms the properties attributed by tradition. Licorice, unlike drugs that inhibit gastric secretion making digestion long and laborious, promotes the production of protective mucus from the stomach walls, improving circulation in gastric mucosa.
- Stimulates the immune system. Some laboratory experiments have shown the antiviral action and demonstrated the effectiveness in case of cold sores, genital, and streptococcus and candida infections. In these cases the gargles and washes of the area are useful with the liquorice macerate which is obtained by macerating the chopped root in cold water for 24 hours, filtered and used.
- Hepatitis and cirrhosis. Studies conducted in China and Japan have highlighted the usefulness in mitigating some of the symptoms related to cirrhosis and hepatitis. The Traditional Chinese Medicineuses, in the form of juice, licorice for the treatment of liver disorders.
Research is underway for use in the prevention of autoimmune diseases.
- In 1950 a compound found in licorice was isolated, which inhibits the excessive production of estrogens , with a harmonizing function. It has an estrogenic hormonal effect.
The advice of the naturopath for a supplement based on licorice root …
Cappades is a recommended supplement to act against allergy symptoms thanks to the unique synergy created by blackcurrant, olive leaves and licorice root.Licorice root has been used since ancient times to treat bronchial secretions and quell cough, making licorice a real gift from nature
Diglycyrrhizinated licorice and glycyrrhizic acid
From the glycyrrhizinic acid drugs are obtained for the treatment of gastroduodenal ulcer, it is not by chance that it is also found in herbal preparations and in teas prepared with digestive indications and against gastric hyper-acidity. Being an active ingredient that taken for prolonged periods can cause fluid retention and increase blood pressure, a procedure has been developed to remove acid from the plant, keeping its protective properties intact. The validity of deglycyrrhizinated licorice was demonstrated in a study published in the Irish Medical Journal.
Liquorice drink, “oricio water”
In Emilia it is called “orcio water”, in the Arab world it is sold as “sus” (licorice) and there are numerous variations, with the addition or modification of some ingredients. A thirst-quenching drink, which also provides the healing principles of the plants that compose it, is obtained by boiling for 15 minutes in a liter of water, a mixture obtained from: 10 cm of coarsely crushed licorice root, a teaspoon of fennel seeds and 5 broken star anise stars; strain, sweeten with honey and keep in the fridge, keep for two or three days. You can replace the star anise with coriander, add a few leaves of fresh mint, the orange peel, you can also macerate the ingredients for a few hours and simply filter, without boiling.
Contraindications and warnings on licorice consumption
Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid which at high doses and taken for prolonged periods can lead to water retention, swelling of the face , ankles, headache and increased blood pressure. It is contraindicated, therefore in case of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, hypokalemia, renal failure, pregnancy and lactation; ask your doctor for advice.