Licorice is a plant which is also called liquorice in British English. In India, it is called mulethi. It’s also known as the sweet root, which turns out to be fifty times sweeter than sugarcane. The plant is native to the continents of Europe and Asia. It has been commercially used as a sweetener in candies and beverages but has ample medicinal properties. It has been used as an overall medicine for several centuries in the Mediterranean countries. While the licorice tea has been quite popular for curing diseases in countries such as Egypt, India, it has been a part of the Ayurvedic medicine history. In China, it is called “The Great Detoxifier” being a part of the Chinese medicine system for years. Licorice root is available in many forms which are either having glycyrrhizin or deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). DGL is licorice with glycyrrhizin removed and thus, a safer form for medicinal uses. Licorice Tea has a plethora of benefits.
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Licorice Tea
1. Nutritional Points
While glycyrrhizic acid is the main component of licorice root, there are several nutrients which add medicinal benefit to the use of the plant. There are several flavonoids and saponins which have health-promoting properties. Along with sugars and starches, there are several amino acids and essential oils that are important for the functioning of the body. Also, there are minerals like manganese and phosphorus, which are important for several bodily reactions. The Vitamin B group is also present, which is an important class of nutrients allowing regular order in several body organs. Hence, this “Grandfather of Herbs” has several properties which make it boast its therapeutic usefulness.
2. Good for Stomach Disorders
Licorice tea is largely used for the treatment of problems in the gastrointestinal tract. DGL is the safer option for those taking licorice for most stomach problems. The anti-inflammatory properties of glycyrrhizic acid can help repair the stomach lining in the cases of stomach ulcers which is quite a common problem. It is also helpful in the cases of food poisoning and heartburn. The extracts can also boost the immunity of the body protecting it from bacteria and other microbes which cause stomach disorders. According to studies, glycyrrhizic acid can control the growth of bacteria H.pylori which can cause stomach problems. The moderate laxative properties can relieve bowel problems and calm your digestive tract effectively. Licorice root also has a moistening effect in the walls of the oesophagus and the stomach which prevents damages by stomach acid. According to studies and experiments, licorice root tea is an effective remedy for mouth ulcers and duodenal ulcers and can also boost overall digestive activities. Two to three cups of regular consumption of licorice tea can do wonders to your stomach health.
3. Controlling Diabetes and Obesity
Licorice root extracts are perhaps the best alternative to sugar for people with diabetes. While the sweetness remains natural, several health benefits are added to your tea dosage. Moreover, it contains an anti-diabetic substance called amorfrutine which has anti-inflammatory properties. It has been found to develop insulin resistance in the body by helping to reduce the blood sugar levels. According to a study, a molecule in licorice called glabridin is seen to protect nerve cells from cognitive decline which may be caused by diabetes and other neuropathic conditions. Consumption of roasted licorice is seen to treat conditions like diabetic nephropathy which is damage in kidney cells due to diabetes. Studies have also suggested that licorice has anti-obesity effects such that it can reduce triglyceride levels in the blood and also reduce the accumulation of adipose tissues in the abdomen.
4. Oral Health Booster
Regular consumption of licorice root tea can have very positive effects on oral problems like gingivitis and other microbial infections. Dental plaque formation is considerably reduced by licorice, and it also protects the teeth and gums from incoming problems. Applying licorice directly in the mouth is a traditional Ayurvedic method to control tooth decay. Recurrent canker sores can be dealt well with licorice which has been seen to reduce the size of ulcers considerably. Apart from the sweet taste to the mouth, these properties are the reason that licorice is used in toothpaste and mouthwashes.
5. Body Detoxifier
The antiviral and antibacterial properties of licorice root can be effective against several toxicities affecting the body. It cleans the respiratory system by producing healthy mucus wearing away the old, sticky mucus lining. This keeps the entire bronchial system healthy and fresh. It also has the property to flush away toxins from the kidney removing stones and other unhealthy particles. The detoxifying properties also keep the liver clean. It also can fight infections in the body. Several infections can target you due to fungal and bacterial microbes landing on you. Women are prone to vaginal yeast infections which can be treated with licorice root. Not only does it fight away these infections, but also heals wounds and protects it from further damage.
6. Maintains Reproductive Health
Several women experience pre-menstrual symptoms like nausea, bloating, and mood swings. Menstrual cramps are also very painful for many women. Licorice root tea has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, along with the capacity to balance the oestrogen levels of the body. Thus, it can be very effective in fighting away PMS and menstrual cramps. It also helps women in their menopause stage when they are prone to mood swings and hot flashes due to a high level of antioxidants and phytoestrogens. Isoflavone is a phytoestrogen that helps level the oestrogen and progesterone levels in the body. Licorice can also treat hirsutism, which is a disease causing excessive hair growth in women. It can also help women affected by polycystic ovary syndrome.
7. Reduces Stress and Depression
Licorice root tea is said to a natural anti-depressant. It has the property to energize the production of steroids like cortisone and aldosterone in the body. Low levels of cortisone in the body are often the cause of stress and depression which is seen as bodily fatigue, reduced level of activity and increased anxiousness in every surrounding. Increased production of cortisone helps regulate insulin which in turn maintains the blood sugar level. The blood pressure is also balanced, and thereby, an overall calmness overcomes the body relieving it of stress and anxiety.
8. Cardiac disorders and Blood pressure
Licorice is rich in antioxidants which helps the reducing of oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thus, reduces the chances of atherosclerosis. Arterial blockages are harmful since they can also cause heart strokes leading to instant death. Licorice root tea also has the properties to increase the production of bile and therefore assists in keeping the cholesterol check. Low cholesterol in blood guarantees a healthy heart. The tea also balances the blood pressure avoiding it to be too low. Low blood pressure is a sign of fatigue and internal weakness. Two cups of tea can refresh you up such that all these blood flow problems to keep in check other heart problems as well.
9. Cold and cough treatment
Licorice root tea is the best herbal tea to cure a cough and cold. Throat coat tea is a popular throat remedy which is made by combining marshmallow root, licorice root and elm bark. As an antiviral, it fights the infections effectively and also adds up to your immunity status to stay protected. It can also treat a sore throat. A hot cup of licorice tea has nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties which provide you instant relief from the pain aiding faster recovery. It opens up your nasal passages and helps the bad mucus to let go of your system. Ayurvedic doctors strongly recommend licorice tea to clean the bronchial passage. Studies have also shown that glycyrrhizin has properties to reduce asthma.
10. Cancer Prevention
Licorice root has been observed by some researches to aid cancer treatment in some cases. It has an anti-tumour activity which prevents tumour proliferation and also prevents the toxicity of chemotherapy to affect the body. It can prevent prostate and breast cancer by promoting cell death of the toxic cancerous parts. By reducing inflammation, it also can reduce chronic prostatitis. While some Chinese practices do incorporate it into their cancer treatment operations, larger associations still need to exemplify on the research.
11. Other Benefits
Among other benefits, the anti-inflammatory properties help in relieving the pain by arthritis. It can also reduce the chances of diseases like tuberculosis because of its anti-microbial properties. Moreover, it is also great for your skin and hair. Licorice root has been an established treatment of eczema, skin rashes, and dry skin. It is a natural agent to smoothen and hydrate your skin keeping it protected from external agents like sun or pollution. It has properties to help hair growth, keeping your scalp healthy to reduce dandruff and is also used to reduce premature baldness.
These advantages hold valuable ground only if a limit is maintained. Overindulgence may cause some severe side effects like water-retention in the body cells, muscle cramps, headaches, and high blood pressure. Thus, beyond the prescribed limit the benefits may overturn. Pregnant women and children should check with a doctor to get a fixed prescription of licorice such that it doesn’t harm them. Individuals with thyroid problems and pre-existing history of heart problems and medications should also check before starting on licorice. Hence, licorice root tea is a very strong treatment for several problems but only under a fixed dosage.