Licorice is a plant native to southern Europe and western Asia. Licorice extracts have been used in traditional medicine for a variety of digestive and health problems.
One of the most important components of licorice is, a form of glycyrrhetic acid that is well absorbed and relatively abundant in licorice extract. Glycyrrhetic acid may inhibit harmful . For example, it has been shown to protect against , a consequence of H.pylori infection.
Licorice also contains, antioxidant molecules that may protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which play an important role in the ageing process. Consequently, licorice extract may protect against age-related diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer.
While licorice seems to have multiple benefits, it also has drawbacks. Most significantly, it may increase blood pressure (secondary to an increase in cortisol) and lower. This is related to , but supplements containing less than 150mg of don’t appear to have these effects.
Licorice has been found to have inhibitory properties against viruses and bacteria, and can protect mice against severe fungal infections. It was also effective in boosting gut defences against infection and treating gastric ulcers in mice, with similar benefits to the anti-ulcer drug .
In terms of licorice’s benefits as an anti-oxidant, this study suggests that licorice extract may be able reduce ( ) oxidation by 20% or more, which would outperform most other supplements. As the oxidation of is a vital step in the development of , licorice root may be protective in this regard. In line with this, evidence suggests that licorice extract can slow the development of in those with .
Examine.com: Licorice: https://examine.com/supplements/licorice/#
Antiulcer properties of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. extract on experimental models of gastric ulcer in mice: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4673944/
Antioxidant effect of polyphenolic glabridin on LDL oxidation: DOI: 10.1177/0748233709103034
Metabolic changes after licorice consumption: A systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis of clinical trials: doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.12.010.
In vitro antiviral activity of indigenous glycyrrhizin, licorice and glycyrrhizic acid (Sigma) on Japanese encephalitis virus: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9282507/
In vitro antibacterial effects of glycyrrhetinic acid on periodontopathogenic and capnophilic bacteria isolated from adult periodontitis: DOI:https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1469-0691.2003.00721.x
Antiatherosclerotic effects of licorice extract supplementation on hypercholesterolemic patients: decreased CIMT, reduced plasma lipid levels, and decreased blood pressure: doi: 10.3402/fnr.v60.30830