Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

It was known to the Greeks, mentioned in the Hippocratic texts, and to the Romans, who made liquorice extract as we do today.

Parts used:

Root, stolon

It was known to the Greeks, mentioned in the Hippocratic texts, and to the Romans, who made liquorice extract as we do today.

Botany

This plant grows in the sub-tropical and warm temperate regions of the world, chiefly in the Mediterranean countries and China.

Constituents

Its principal constituents are flavanoids (notably glyzarin) and terpenoids (Glycyrrhizin glycoside [1–24%]).

Possible Interactions

Herbs - Possibly herbs with cardiac or stimulant laxative effects. Drugs - Possibly antihypertensive drugs and corticosteroids.

Excessive or prolonged use of liquorice may lead to hypokalaemia.

Comments

Traditionally used for asthma, chronic bronchitis and cough. Antimicrobial activity versus Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis and Candida albicans has been documented for liquorice and attributed to isoflavonoid constituents (glabridin, glabrol and their derivatives). Antiviral activity has been described for glycyrrhetinic acid, which interacts with virus structures producing different effects according to the viral stage affected. Significant anti-inflammatory action is exhibited by glycyrrhetinic acid against UV erythema.

➥ Pharmacopoeia and Other Monographs

ESCOP 2003, BP 2007, Ph Eur 2007, USP29/NF24 WHO

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