What Is The Licorice Root Good For?

The Licorice root comes from the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra), also known as sweet root because it contains compounds that make it sweeter than sugar. This plant belongs to the family Leguminosae and is indigenous to the Mediterranean and parts of Southwestern Asia.
The Licorice plant is a herbaceous shrub with pea-shaped flowers and bright divided leaves and is traditionally known for its use in folk medicine. In recent times, it has been used as a flavoring agent in candies and tobacco. Let’s dive in further to the licorice plant and its specific benefits, especially when it comes to skincare.

The licorice root is slender and grows horizontally underground. They have an extensive branching root system, cylindrical with a woody appearance. The licorice root is known to have a pungent bittersweet taste.
This part of the plant contains a wide variety of compounds with a host of health benefits.

Benefits of Licorice Root

Here are some of the compounds that the root contains:-

1. Saponins Triterpenes

This compound is a natural product found in plants and is considered a defensive compound against pathogenic microbes and herbivores. Studies have shown that this compound has been beneficial in the treatment of cancer (it enables the inhibition of cancer formation and progression). It has also been found to decrease lipids. Increased levels of lipids can cause fat deposits in your artery walls which increases your chances of heart disease), lower glucose response (it can improve glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity) and inhibition of dental caries (preventing tooth decay that can be caused by bacteria in your mouth or frequent snacking can be prevented).

2. Flavonoids

The licorice root also contains flavonoids. Flavonoids occur naturally in plants, especially in many fruits and vegetables. They have powerful antioxidant properties (helping your body to defend itself against everyday toxins), they also reduce inflammation (studies have shown that flavonoids have been proven to inhibit the onset and development of inflammatory diseases), interfere with the development of cancer (these compounds find free radicals that can damage large molecules, including DNA), reduce pressure (studies have shown that persons who ate more foods containing flavonoids have lower blood pressure), and regulate key cellular enzyme function (studies have suggested that flavonoids have protective effects against bacterial and viral diseases, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative disease).

Licorice Root

3. Coumarins

Also found in the licorice root, coumarins have a sweet odor oftentimes resembling the scent of vanilla. They are found in many plants and have anti-inflammatory properties (coumarins reduce tissue edema and inflammation), are anticoagulants (the coumarin coagulants, warfarin and dicumarol, inhibit the function of vitamin K, which helps make four of the thirteen proteins responsible for clotting), and have cancer-fighting properties (coumarins have been used in the fight against cancers such as prostate, renal, carcinoma, and leukemia).

Licorice Root

4. Sugars

Sugars are especially important as they relate to energy. The most common sugars found in plants are ribose, glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Sugars create higher energy levels, stronger immune systems, and can sometimes improve gut health; however, too much can affect your gut, etc.

5. Amino Acids

Amino acids are essential for the body’s growth and function. They help in the breaking down of food (after proteins are broken down into amino acids, they dissolve in your body and are carried to various tissues and organs), grow and repair body tissue, maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails among other benefits.

6. Tannins

Tannins are often found in the roots, bark, or leaves of woody flowering plants. They are good at fighting inflammation (condensed tannins reduce inflammation), protect against heart disease (studies have been done in Korea in relation to treating cardiovascular and related vascular diseases using tannins), have cancer-preventing properties (studies have shown that it can reduce the effect of cancer), and antibacterial effects (studies have proven it to be effective against viruses and bacteria).

Licorice Root

7. Starch

Starch is an organic chemical that is produced by all green plants. They are a good source of energy. Research has shown that starch helps with weight loss as well as reduces the risk associated with diabetes and colon cancer.

8. Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient found in meats, fish, vegetables, and beans that is essential for optimal health. It plays roles in heart health (studies have shown that individuals that have a higher intake of choline have a lower risk of having cardiovascular disease), brain function (choline functions as a neuroprotectant and is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, this plays a critical role in memory formation), and also reduces the risk of fatty liver (fatty liver is a term used to describe the condition caused by a buildup of fat in the liver).

9. Phytosterols

Phytosterols are bioactive compounds that are found naturally in foods of plant origin. Health benefits include lowering cholesterol levels (studies have shown a healthy diet of phytosterols can lower cholesterol) and it also lowers risks of having cardiovascular disease.

Licorice Root

10. Bitter principles

Bitter principles consist of several hundred natural compounds of plant constituents linked by their pronounced bitter taste. They increase your appetite because it stimulates your bitter receptors in your tongue, increasing saliva secretion and the secretion of digestive juices.

The Licorice Root & Skin Care

The licorice root has been used traditionally for thousands of years to treat coughs, asthma, stomach pains, insomnia, and infections. Another major use of the licorice root is to remove excess melanin. The root of the licorice plant also contains a compound known as liquirtin. Liquirtin helps to disperse and remove excess melanin in the skin. So it is a good natural way to fade spots on the skin, especially if pregnant women are looking for a safe natural way to treat melasma.

Licorice Root

Licorice also helps to control the oil production in your skin. Studies have shown that another key point is that licorice has a compound that can regulate the oil production of the skin. However, when using licorice, it should not be used in conjunction with retinol or hydroquinone because it can be irritating to the skin.

Licorice Root

How To Use Licorice Root On The Skin

1. You can use the licorice root as a gel or cream by taking the powder of the root and mixing it with water to form a paste to apply to affected areas.

2. Licorice root capsules can be taken daily. Also, do make sure you consult with a physician before usage.

3. Licorice root can be used as a tea as well. The tea bags are readily available on amazon on a variety of stores.

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