What's Licorice? - Longevity and Supplements (Live healthy naturally)


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Thursday, July 6, 2023

What's Licorice?

Licorice, also known as liquorice, refers to the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, which is native to Europe and Asia. Licorice has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, as well as in culinary and confectionery applications. The root contains various bioactive compounds that give licorice its distinct flavor and potential health benefits.

Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for its characteristic sweet taste. Glycyrrhizin has been used as a natural sweetener and flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and confectionery products. However, it's important to note that excessive consumption of licorice or its derivatives high in glycyrrhizin can have adverse effects on health, especially for individuals with certain medical conditions.

In addition to glycyrrhizin, licorice root contains other active compounds such as flavonoids and triterpenoids. These compounds are believed to contribute to the potential health benefits associated with licorice.

Licorice is often used for its various medicinal properties, including:

  • Soothing effects on the digestive system: Licorice has been traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal issues such as indigestion, heartburn, and stomach ulcers. It is believed to help protect the stomach lining, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
  • Respiratory support: Licorice has expectorant properties, meaning it may help loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory tract. It is often used in herbal formulations for coughs, bronchitis, and sore throat relief.
  • Anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects: Licorice contains compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce inflammation in the body and modulate the immune response. Licorice has been studied for its potential use in conditions such as asthma, allergies, and autoimmune disorders.
  • Skin health: Licorice has been used topically in skincare products for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It may help soothe skin irritations, reduce redness, and promote skin healing.
  • Hormonal balance: Certain compounds in licorice root have been found to have estrogenic properties, meaning they can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Licorice has been used in traditional medicine for conditions related to hormonal imbalances, such as menstrual irregularities and menopausal symptoms.

It's important to note that licorice should be used in moderation, as excessive consumption or long-term use can lead to adverse effects, including high blood pressure, potassium imbalances, and hormonal disruptions. If you have specific health concerns or are considering using licorice for medicinal purposes, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance and appropriate dosage recommendations.

Also is good to note that licorice root is often used as a sweetener in beverages, candy, and medicine. It is 50 times sweeter than sugar but provides health benefits that sugar does not. Licorice root contains over 300 chemical compounds and flavonoids.  

source : webmd.com

How to consume licorice?

Licorice can be consumed in various forms, and the method of consumption depends on personal preference and the desired effect. Here are some common ways to consume licorice:

Licorice tea: Licorice root can be brewed to make a soothing and aromatic herbal tea. You can find licorice tea bags or loose licorice root to steep in hot water. However, it's important to note that prolonged or excessive consumption of licorice tea can have potential health risks, especially for individuals with high blood pressure or certain medical conditions. Consult with a healthcare professional before using licorice tea regularly.

Licorice supplements: Licorice root is available in supplement form, such as capsules, tablets, or extracts. These supplements provide a concentrated dose of licorice compounds. However, it's important to choose high-quality supplements from reputable sources and follow the recommended dosage instructions. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any dietary supplements.

Licorice candies and confectionery: Licorice root extract is often used as a flavoring agent in candies, sweets, and confectionery products. However, most commercial licorice candies contain added sugars, artificial flavors, and other ingredients. If you want to enjoy licorice in this form, look for natural and organic options with minimal additives.

Licorice root as a spice: Dried licorice root can be ground into a powder and used as a spice in cooking and baking. It adds a unique sweet flavor to dishes and can be used in marinades, sauces, desserts, and even savory recipes. However, it's important to use licorice root powder in moderation due to its potency.

Topical applications: Licorice extracts or creams can be applied topically to the skin for certain skin conditions. Licorice creams are available over the counter and are used to soothe skin irritations, reduce redness, and promote healing. Follow the instructions provided and consult with a healthcare professional if you have specific skin concerns.

licorice in alcoholic beverages

Licorice is indeed used in some alcoholic beverages, primarily as a flavoring ingredient. Here are a few examples of alcoholic beverages that may contain licorice:

Anise Liqueurs: Anise liqueurs, such as absinthe, ouzo, and pastis (ricard), often feature licorice flavor. Anise seeds, which have a similar taste profile to licorice, are commonly used to produce these liqueurs. They provide a distinct licorice-like flavor and aroma to the beverages.

Sambuca: Sambuca is a popular Italian liqueur that prominently features the flavor of licorice. It is typically enjoyed as a digestif and can be served neat, on the rocks, or with a few coffee beans, creating a captivating aniseed aroma.

Bitters: Licorice can also be found in certain types of bitters used in cocktails. Bitters are concentrated botanical extracts infused with a combination of herbs, spices, and bittering agents. Some bitters recipes incorporate licorice as one of the flavor components, providing a subtle sweetness and depth to the cocktail.

Some Craft Beers: Occasionally, licorice root is used in craft beer brewing to add a unique flavor element. It can impart a mild, sweet, and slightly herbal taste to the beer, enhancing its overall complexity. Licorice is typically used sparingly in beer recipes to avoid overpowering other flavors.

It's worth noting that licorice-flavored alcoholic beverages should be consumed responsibly and in moderation. 

licorice in medical researchs

Licorice, specifically compounds found in licorice root, has been the subject of several medical research studies. These studies have explored various potential health benefits and therapeutic applications of licorice. Here are some areas of research related to licorice:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Licorice contains compounds that possess anti-inflammatory effects. Research has investigated the ability of licorice to reduce inflammation in various conditions, such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and skin inflammation.
  • Digestive health: Licorice has been studied for its potential gastroprotective effects, including its ability to protect the stomach lining, inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, and reduce symptoms of gastritis and stomach ulcers.
  • Respiratory health: Licorice has been investigated for its potential use in respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and coughs. Research has explored its expectorant properties and potential bronchodilatory effects.
  • Anti-viral activity: Licorice has demonstrated antiviral properties against various viruses, including respiratory viruses, herpes simplex virus, and HIV. Research has explored the mechanisms by which licorice compounds inhibit viral replication.
  • Hormonal regulation: Certain compounds found in licorice root have been studied for their estrogenic effects, meaning they can mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. This research has explored potential applications in hormonal imbalances, menopausal symptoms, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Antioxidant and anti-cancer properties: Licorice contains compounds with antioxidant properties that may help protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress. Some studies have investigated the potential anti-cancer effects of licorice compounds, particularly in relation to certain types of cancer cells.
  • Skin health: Research has explored the use of licorice extracts in skincare products due to their potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin-soothing effects. Licorice has been studied for its potential applications in skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, acne, and hyperpigmentation.

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