Its clear sometimes that there are threats all around us. And things that obviously cause fear. How can we address fearful threats without feeding them and increasing their strength?
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is one of the most compelling herbal medicines I prescribe.
When I mention to patients that I am prescribing Licorice there is an initial excitement (think twizzlers) followed by a wonder. After realizing I am not sending them home with Red Vines . They wonder “Will it taste good?” and “What does it do?”
For this, I will share some nuggets about Licorice Root
Lets’ get this out of the way. It’s sweet. It tastes sweeter then sucrose. So most think it tastes good.
Next ; some history on Licorice Root.
Glycyrrhiza has been used in Cough Drops for over 3500 years. (Medicinal Botany, 2014) The root and rhizome of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) have historically been used medicinally as an expectorant and carminative (flatulence relieving agent) by Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, Indian, and Roman civilizations (Glenn, 2006). In Chinese medicine, Chinese licorice (G. uralensis) is classified as a Qi tonic, particularly for the spleen, and is commonly used to “harmonize” or buffer herbal formulations
Licorice extracts are used in modern medicine as flavoring agents, as expectorants in cough and cold medicines, and for the treatment of several viral infections, including chronic hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes, and cytomegalovirus. Topical licorice preparations are useful in treating skin disorders such as psoriasis and herpetic lesions. Furthermore, licorice extracts are used to treat oral lichen planus, aphthous ulcers, peptic ulcer disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma. (Glenn, 2006)
The medicinal constituents of Glycyrrhiza glabra is made up of triterpene saponins (including glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhizic acid), flavonoids, polysaccharides, pectins, simple sugars, and amino acids.
The saponins glycyrrhizin and glychrrizic acid have been shown to inhibit many DNA and RNA viruses.
In addition the triterpene molecules have structure very similar to adrenal cortex hormones. Showing anti-inflammatory activity and possibly explaining why we use this remedy to support low adrenal function. (Hoffman, 2003)
Clinical studies have also demonstrated licorice’s endocrine effects. Licorice has been shown to decrease testosterone levels in both men and women, which can induce ovulation in hyperandronergic women. Isoliquiritigenin, glabrene, and glabridin are phytoestrogens isolated from licorice. (Glenn e. a., 2009)
Side effects are minimal if taken less than 10 mg of glycyrrhizin daily. Chronic use may cause hypokalemia, headache, spastic numbness, hypertension, weakness, dizziness, and edema. So it should be used in moderation. For long term use the dose should be .3 grams or less daily. Higher doses of 5 to 15 grams should only be used for 1-2 weeks. (Board, 2014)
In my practice I recommend with high caution in patients who have hypertension due to its anti-diuretic action. Anyone with a cardiovascular condition should review with a doctor prior to use.
I think of Glycyrrhiza in my patients that seem to have issues with chronic viruses, canker sores, and immune disorders. I also think of it in the adrenally depleted patient who is fatigued, has low blood pressure, and is feeling depleted. From an eastern perspective I often use it to move the circulatory and harmonize the physiology of the body.As with anything discuss with your provider prior to using. When used properly Glycyrrhiza is a true gift from nature.
Last week I broke my personal rule and got my first cold of the season . This resulted in taking a sick day.
I was unequipped for “Mr. cough” to be seated next to me.
Even though I could have moved places…I didn’t because I was concerned about offending him. (1st mistake)
Second, I could have left…I didn’t…because I really wanted to be where I was for a special presentation (maybe not a mistake)
Third, I didn’t have on my person my double immune threat taught to me by one of my mentors… Dr. Trina Seligman.
which if you put it on it kills bugs as they enter your nasal passages.
which if you apply to the oral mucosa it may kill bugs upon entering there.
I have posted earlier (see below ) that at first symptoms of cold/flu symptoms I recommend using something like Super Bio Veg by Priority One.
However carrying and using Nozin and Halo may also help deal with people who haven’t learned about covering their mouth when the cough. Or better yet…staying away from others when sick. The reality is the situations are unavoidable, so these tools may be helpful. here is the original post in this series.