Many people only associate licorice with old-fashioned candy. The substance that gives licorice candy its distinctive taste is known as star anise. Licorice root, on the other hand, tastes much different. It still has a sweetness, but the taste is a bit more subtle and earthy. And it’s an incredible herb that can provide substantial health benefits for your body.
Here are just some of the reasons you might want to brew up a batch of licorice root tea the next time you get the chance:
Benefits Gastrointestinal Health
Licorice root extract, according to research, can help provide relief from symptoms of gastrointestinal problems, particularly a condition known as dyspepsia, or indigestion. In one study, a group of dyspepsia patients received either a placebo or a product containing licorice root extract two times a day for one month.
The patients receiving the extract reported a substantial reduction in symptoms at both the 15- and 30-day marks.1
Research indicates that licorice root tea could help boost your immune system, helping to protect you from certain types of ailments. It is believed that it helps stimulate T-cells – immune cells specifically designed to help destroy harmful viruses and other microbes.2
There is also evidence that licorice root extract can inhibit the growth of a type of harmful bacteria known as Enterococcus faecalis. This bacterium is associated with urinary tract infections.3
Relieves Symptoms of Menopause
Studies show that licorice extract could help not only reduce the number of hot flashes during menopause, but also their duration. One study involved a group of 60 women experiencing hot flashes. Half of them received licorice root, while the other group received hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for 90 days. The result showed that licorice may be just as effective as HRT at reducing the duration of hot flashes.4
Attacks Harmful Organisms
Licorice has antimicrobial qualities. Not only is it known to inhibit the growth of Enterococcus faecalis, but also Escherichia coli.5 The latter, better known as E. coli, can cause a severe and potentially life-threatening infection.6 Licorice also acts against a type of yeast known as Candida albicans. This is a yeast that typically lives in your intestinal tract and can cause a yeast infection.7
Licorice root has been used for centuries to help reduce the symptoms of many types of diseases. Researchers believe a compound in licorice root, known as glycyrrhizin, has anti-inflammatory properties, and that it may help to relieve symptoms of certain skin problems.8 It might also help people suffering from sores in the mouth.
Just about all of us are surrounded by stress every day. Whether you’re at work, in public, or at home, you probably have to deal with a lot. Licorice has been shown to help regulate the production of cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.” This helps to reduce the activity of your adrenal glands, keeping them from working overtime.9
A Simple Licorice Root Tea Recipe
Making a delicious cup of licorice tea is very easy.
- Gather a quarter-cup of licorice root and a small chunk (about the size of your index finger) of ginger. Make sure the ginger is sliced and not peeled.
- Put two quarts of water into a pot, add the licorice and ginger, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, and then pour into mugs through a strainer.
And there you have it! A delicious, nutritious licorice tea that can deliver substantial health benefits.
Is There a Downside?
Unfortunately, the glycyrrhizic acid in licorice can result in high blood pressure, fatigue, and headaches. In some severe cases, it can even contribute to heart problems.10
Pregnant women must avoid ingesting excessive amounts of licorice root.
According to one study, consuming too much licorice could have an adverse effect on a child’s behavior and intelligence.
Researchers analyzed a group of 8-year-old children whose mothers regularly ate licorice during their pregnancy. According to the results, the children fared worse than other children in cognition tests. They were also at a higher risk of exhibiting signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and had a more difficult time paying attention.
According to the researchers, glycyrrhizic acid can cause problems in the placenta. For example, it can allow cortisol to transfer from the mother’s body to that of the baby. The study was conducted in Finland, a country where young women typically consume a great deal of licorice. Eating hundred grams of licorice a week is enough to cause problems, according to the researchers.11
The Final Word
Licorice root extract, the essential ingredient in licorice tea, can help your body in many different ways. However, moderation is the key. Licorice can lead to high blood pressure and other problems if consumed in excess. If you’re thinking of introducing licorice root tea to your diet, talk to your doctor first to be safe.