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Licorice: information on the plant and its therapeutic properties. Contraindications, effects on blood pressure and how to eat.
There licorice, botanical name Glycyrrhiza glabra, it's aplantoriginally from Southern Europe and Asia.
For his therapeutic properties, is considered a very special plant so much so that we are talking about one of the most used herbs.
There licorice plantit is widely used by eastern and western phytotherapy professionals.
There Glycyrrhiza glabrait was already used for curative purposes by ancient Chinese doctors and was mentioned by Hippocrates as a curative substance against cough. The oldest information concerning it dates back to about 6,000 years ago and there are even traces of it in the tombs of some Egyptian pharaohs. As is evident, the popularity of this plant is absolutely undisputed, as are hersproperty!
There Glycyrrhiza glabrait's aperennial herbaceous plantbelonging to the fabaceae family (it is a legume). It grows up to over one meter in height and has pinnate leaves of about 7 - 15 cm. Therelicorice rootis a stolon.
The typical sweet taste oflicoricehas been associated with a compound calledglycyrrhizin.
From the root of licorice an extract is obtained whose properties are linked to the presence of flavonoids, volatile substances, saponins and phytoestrogens such as isoflavene glabrene and isoflavene glabridin.
Among these are the active ingredients that characterize the licoriceand hisroot, glycyrrhizin certainly stands out. Such substance, according to experts, would exercise propertyanti-inflammatory, expectorant and protective of the gastric mucosa. The antispasmodic properties are due to the flavonoids.
There licorice it would seem to be effective against cough, sore throat, catarrh, cervical and gastric acidity, it also exerts a mild laxative function.
Licorice, therapeutic properties
Therelicoriceit is widely used both in theChinese folk medicine, in Ayurveda medicine, in phytotherapy, in herbal medicine, in homeopathy and… also in allopathic medicine!It is no coincidence that the active substances of thelicoricethey are used in pharmaceutical laboratories for the preparation of drugs.
Glycyrrhizine has been shown to haveproperty:
Its anti-inflammatory properties have proven effective against different types of dermatitis.
Licorice was found to be effective in treating hyperlipidemia (excess fat in the blood such as high cholesterol and high triglycerides).
Some research has shown that chewing licorice root could prevent dental caries while its extracts protect the central nervous system from neurodegenerative diseases.
Other properties associated with licorice that, however, have not found enough scientific evidence, are: antidiabetic, laxative, antiulcer, immunostimulating and anticancer properties.
Licorice and pressure
Those who suffer from low blood pressure may benefit from licorice as it increases blood pressure, but for the same reason it should be consumed sparingly. Chewing on a licorice stick may be recommended in the summer, to prevent the classic pressure drop associated with heatstroke.
How to take licorice
We have seen its properties, all very interesting ... but .. how do you eat licorice? There licorice it is used in the form of:
- Juice / Extract
- Herbal tea (8 g / day maximum)
- Licorice root.
- Nebulized dry extract (500-700 mg per day).
Who is lucky enough to have onelicorice plantcan prepare a herbal tea starting fromrootof this plant. Just put 1.5 grams of dried licorice root in 150ml of boiling water.
Anyone wondering how to eat licorice, should know that the roots can also be sucked and chewed in order to take most of the active ingredients released by chewing.
If you don't have licorice plants in your home, you can buy licorice sticks which are very easily found.
On Amazon, a package of licorice root sticks (pure, untreated, only dried) derived from organic farming, can be bought for 9.90 euros with free shipping. For more information on purchasing, please refer to the official Amazon page.
Amazon Useful Link: Pack of 10 root sticks
Whichever product you buy, make sure you buy untreated licorice roots that have simply been dried. Another concern, make sure they are roots derived from BIO agriculture.
Don't buy licorice in candy form! In that case it is licorice-flavored sugars. Licorice candies and do not keep the therapeutic properties just described.
In the kitchen there licorice it is widely used for the preparation of sweets and candies. Due to its sweet and bitter taste, at the same time, it can also be used for recipes for savory dishes. With licorice root sauces are prepared to be combined with meat and fish but also original dishes such as licorice risotto.
Licorice, contraindications and side effects
The abuse of licorice It may cause side effects such as headaches, swelling of the face and ankles and water retention, the cause of cellulite.
Licorice is contraindicated in cases of hypertension, potassium deficiency in the blood (hypokalemia), overweight, pregnancy and kidney failure.
Excessive consumption oflicorice(more than 2 mg / kg per day) can cause side effects such as muscle weakness and potassium deficiency.
In the photo above, the dried sticks of licorice root.
In the photo below, the licorice plant with its leaves.