Licorice root has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal remedies.
It has a well-documented reputation for healing ulcers. It can lower stomach acid levels, relieve heartburn and indigestion and acts as a mild laxative. This excellent herb also supports the adrenals, reducing stress and exhaustion - a valuable quality in our fast pace lives!
It can also be used for irritation, inflammation and spasm in the digestive tract. Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.
Licorice also appears to enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses. It also contains powerful antioxidants as well as certain phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body's natural estrogens. The phytoestrogens in licorice have a mild estrogenic effect, making the herb potentially useful in easing certain symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), such as irritability, bloating and breast tenderness.
Not only is it almost universally believed to be one of nature's best medicines, it tastes delicious. If you like sweet beverages, but want to wean yourself off sugar, substitute a cup of licorice tea for a sugar-sweetened beverage or add a little licorice root to your favourite herbal blend. Licorice contains a natural sweetener, glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times as sweet as sucrose. Take care, though, and limit your intake of licorice to one or two cups per day and if you want to use it for medicinal purposes, use it under supervision of a health care professional. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing" and licorice can have unwanted side effects if overused. (see below)
Licorice is beneficial for soothing sore throats, and is also great for digestion after a big meal.
Extended use of licorice tea can cause a sodium build-up in the body, which can lead to high blood pressure. Overuse can lead to mild edema (swelling) in the face and ankles. A diuretic and laxative, too much licorice tea can upset normal bowel functions. Read more: http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/why_drink_licorice_tea