Yashtimadhu or Glycyrrhiza glabra is commonly known as licorice, a shrub native to the Mediterranean and central Asia. The Sanskrit name of Glycyrrhiza glabra is Yashtimadhu. Since ages, it has been used medically for treating conditions like digestive conditions, cough, infection, sore throat and others.
What is Glycyrrhiza glabra?
In Greek, “glykos” means sweet, and “rhiza” means root. Glycyrrhiza glabra is a shrub of the Fabaceae family. It is commonly known as mulethi or jethimadhu. It is native to the southern, central and Mediterranean Russia, and Asia. The plant is cultivated in subtropical climates and grows about 6 feet in height. It has long compound leaves bearings leaflets, spikes with lilac-colored flowers with bean-like pods having three to four seeds.
In the ancient history of Ayurveda, Glycyrrhiza glabra is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs. The roots of the plant are mostly used for medicinal purpose. It is used for curing several conditions like anemia, sore throat, cough, fever, diarrhea, and others.
What are the benefits of Glycyrrhiza glabra?
Glycyrrhiza glabra can be used to treat the following conditions:
- The herb is effective in curing respiratory diseases like bronchitis, asthma, chronic bronchitis, chest congestion, sore throat, and whooping cough.
- It has demonstrated a soothing effect on the throat and pharynx. Therefore, it is also effective in treating hoarseness of the voice.
- The roots of the plant aids in supporting the digestive system by lowering the acidic levels in the intestine.
- It is effective in curing conditions like indigestion, peptic ulcers, duodenal ulcers, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and heartburn.
- The herb enhances the bile secretion in the liver and maintains the health of the liver.
- It is also lower down the cholesterol level in the body.
- The herb helps in increasing the secretion of thyroid hormone. Thus is effective in curing hypothyroidism.
- It also aids in managing the hormonal balance of the body.
- The root extract of the herb prevents the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone that is responsible for the increase in the size of the prostate gland.
- Therefore, it is effective in reducing the size of the prostate gland and managing the associated symptoms.
- The herb contains antimicrobial and antifungal property.
- It enhances the immune system and ability of the body to fight against bacterial and viral infection. It is also effective in treating athlete’s foot.
- The herb boosts the immune system and aids in curing different types of allergic reactions.
- The herb when directly applied to the skin improves the symptoms of eczema.
What are the medicinal properties of Glycyrrhiza glabra?
Studies have demonstrated the following medicinal properties of Glycyrrhiza glabra:
- Antioxidant property
- Anti-tussive and expectorant property
- Skin lightening and skin tightening activity
- Anti-inflammatory property
- Anti-viral property
- Anti-fungal property
- Anti-bacterial property
- Anti-malarial property
- Antihyperglycemic property
- Immunostimulatory effects
- Memory enhancing activity
- Hepatoprotective activity
- Hair growth stimulator
What are the side effects of Glycyrrhiza glabra?
Glycyrrhiza glabra is usually harmless if consumed in recommended doses. Consuming a large amount of Glycyrrhiza glabra for long term may lead to certain side effects, such as:
- Low potassium levels
- High blood pressure
- Absence of menstrual period
- Water and sodium retention
- Decreased sexual interest
Using Glycyrrhiza glabra safely
The recommended dose of Glycyrrhiza glabra is 1 to 4 grams per day. However, the dose may vary depending on the person’s age and health condition. Individuals with the following conditions should avoid consuming Glycyrrhiza glabra:
Pregnancy: Pregnant women should avoid consuming Glycyrrhiza glabra as it may lead to early delivery or miscarriage.
High blood pressure: Glycyrrhiza glabra may raise blood pressure. Therefore, individuals with high blood pressure should avoid taking the herb.
Hormone-sensitive condition: The herb may act like estrogen and worsen conditions like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis.
Hypertonia: Glycyrrhiza glabra lower down the potassium level in the blood and may worsen the condition.
Undergoing surgery: A person should avoid consuming Glycyrrhiza glabra at least 2 weeks before the planned surgery as it may interfere with the blood pressure control.