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Licorice – (Glycyrrhiza glabra)


The licorice plant is a legume like beans and peas. It is a beautiful plant with lots of pinnate leaves and purple or blue flowers. Seeds form in a pod similar to beans or peas. What gives the very distinctive flavor is anise, and in candy the root of the herb is added as a sweetener, while anise is the star of the show. It is a very common herb used in Chinese medicine.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Licorice can be made into syrups or lozenges for sore throats and coughs. It is also helpful for mouth and peptic ulcers. It is a mild laxative and is antiviral. It affects the endocrine system. In the digestive system, the herb is useful for ileitis, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, Crohn's disease and ulcers. In Chinese medicine, it is used to harmonize other ingredients in a formula. Sometimes it is used to treat epilepsy and hepatitis. It can also be useful as HIV support and for eczema treatment. Other uses include hay fever, menopause symptoms and singles.

Externally – Licorice is sometimes used in tooth powders. It can also be applied topically to genital herpes lesions.

Other Uses – It is used to sweeten candy and as a culinary spice. It can be found in root beer and in some herbal teas.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Licorice can be combined with many other herbs in Chinese medicine for various formulas.

Parts Used

Root – The root is the part of the plant that is used medicinally.


Excessive use of licorice, even in candy can be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular system. Watch for signs of hypertension and edema. Taking doses of 50g on a daily basis for two weeks can cause a noticeable rise in blood pressure and water retention. Some medications may interact with this herb.

Preparation and Dosage

Licorice extract is usually given in doses of 0.4 to 1.6g three times a day. Tablets can be taken in a dose of 300 to 400mg before meals. Tincture dosage is usually 2 to 4ml three times per day and dried root of licorice is measured out at 1 to 5g three times per day made into a decoction.

Licorice Herbal Remedies Top