Licorice - Ayurvedic MedicineLicorice is primarily known for its aromatic and sweet flavor in the West. Many herbalists use it as an antiviral and to nourish the adrenals. In addition, Ayurveda and other Eastern medicine traditions have long been aware of its numerous medicinal benefits. Glycyrrhizin is the compound in licorice that gives it its particular sweetness. This substance is known to be many times sweeter than sugar, and can also be tremendously beneficial for your health.
Licorice BenefitsLicorice has many heath benefits! Here are some of the ways to use this time-tested plant ally. In Ayurvedic medicine, licorice is used for combating inflammation, improving gut health, boosting immunity, soothing ulcers and other GI irritations, protecting the liver, enhancing digestion, increasing tissue moisture, and regulating hormones. Furthermore, it is a go-to herb for dry cough, colds, sore throat, fatigue, and congestion. However, a note on safety: those with high blood pressure should use licorice with caution. Its demulcent effects mean that it helps your body retain water. This is a good thing if you are a Vata-type that runs on the dry side. At the same time, it can also lead to an increase in blood pressure. Also, licorice can precipitate a drop in potassium levels which can lead to a spike in blood pressure. So, proceed with caution if this is a risk for you. Some of the most well-studied and scientifically understood benefits of licorice root are:
- Soothing the stomach. Licorice has long been used to help prevent nausea and soothe stomach pain. It has also been shown to prevent the growth of the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria which causes ulcers.
- Enhancing respiratory health. Licorice can help promote the production of healthy mucus, keeping the circulation of mucus constant and ensuring that any unwanted particulate matter is flushed out of the lungs.
- Reducing stress. Licorice has been shown to reduce stress on the adrenal gland, which can inhibit symptoms like anxiety, nervousness, and nervous exhaustion.
Essential Facts about LicoriceNames
- Botanical: Glycyrrhiza glabra
- Sanskrit: Yastimadhu
- Hindi: Mulethi, Jethimadhu
- English: Licorice (The etymology of the word licorice stems from the Greek word glukurrhiza, which means "sweet root." The French adapted this term to licoresse, from which we have derived licorice).
- Rasa (taste): Sweet
- Guna (qualities): Heavy, sticky
- Virya (action): Cooling
- Vipaka (post-digestive effects): Sweet
- Dosha (constitution): Pacifies Vata and Pitta