Glycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza lepidota
History: Licorice is known for its unique sweet taste that comes from the plant’s roots and is often used to flavor candy, foods, beverages, and tobacco. There are two main varieties. Glycyrrhiza glabra is native to Egypt but is also grown in Greece, Turkey, and Asia. The root was used to soothe coughs asthma, and lung complaints. Greek and Roman soldiers would chew on the roots to keep up their strength on long marches. Glycyrrhiza lepidota is the Native American species. Native Americans used the whole Licorice plant, including the burs, leaves, shoots, and roots. The Cheyenne, Montana Indians, and Northwestern tribes ate the tender spring shoots raw. Many tribes nibbled the roots to keep the mouth sweet and moist. The buffalo runners of the Blackfoot Indians were known to suck on the burs to keep from getting thirsty, while other tribes sucked on the burs to keep the body cool during sweat lodge or Sun Dance.
Uses: stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic,chronic gastritis, sore throat, bronchitis, cough, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), liver disorders, malaria, tuberculosis, food poisoning, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
The Commission E approved the internal use of licorice root for catarrhs of the upper respiratory tract and gastric or duodenal ulcers.
The British Herbal Compendium indicates its use for bronchitis, peptic ulcer, chronic gastritis, rheumatism and arthritis, and adrenocorticoid insufficiency. The German Standard License approves licorice root infusions for loosening mucus, alleviating discharge in bronchitis, and as an adjuvant in treating spasmodic pains of chronic gastritis. In France, licorice preparations may be used to treat epigastric bloating, impaired digestion, and flatulence.
The World Health Organization recognizes no uses for licorice as being supported by clinical data; WHO recognizes the following uses as being described in pharmacopeias and in traditional systems of medicine: demulcent for sore throats; expectorant in treatment of coughs and bronchial catarrh; prophylaxis and treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers; used in dyspepsia; anti-inflammatory in treating allergic reactions, rheumatism, and arthritis; to prevent liver toxicity; and to treat tuberculosis and adrenocorticoid insufficiency.
Active Ingredients: Glycyrrhizin, resin, asparagin, Tannin
Actions: demulcent, pectoral and emollient
Complementary Herbs: Coltsfoot, Horehound, Marshmallow, Meadowsweet, Comfrey