Traditionally Used for:
Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). There is some evidence that applying licorice to the skin can improve symptoms of eczema. Applying a gel containing licorice three times daily for 2 weeks seems to reduce redness, swelling, and itching.
Heartburn (dyspepsia). Research suggests that taking two specific combination products containing licorice root (Iberogast, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH; STW-5-S, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) seems to improve symptoms of heartburn. Also, using another combination product containing licorice (STW 5-II, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH) improves heartburn 40% more when compared to a placebo treatment.
Recovery after surgery. Research suggests that sucking on a single lozenge containing licorice (Sualin, Hamdard Pharma, India) beginning 30 minutes before having a tube inserted through the mouth into the trachea reduces cough following surgery by about 50%. Also, gargling with a licorice fluid before intubation reduces complications when the breathing tube is removed.
Insufficient Evidence for
Bleeding. Early research suggests that applying a specific product containing alpinia, licorice, thyme, stinging nettle, and common grape vine (Ankaferd Blood Stopper, Mefar Ilaç Sanayi A.S., Istanbul, Turkey) to the skin reduces bleeding during surgery, but does not reduce time in surgery. Another early study suggests that applying the same product after dental surgery reduces bleeding.
Canker sores. Research suggests that applying a patch containing licorice to the inside of the mouth for 16 hours daily for 8 days reduces the size of canker sores but does not speed up healing time. Other research suggests that applying licorice patches and gargling with warm water containing licorice reduces pain in patients with canker sores.
Dental plaque. Early research suggests that using a toothpaste containing licorice twice dally does not reduce plaque, gingivitis, or bleeding when compared to toothpaste without licorice. Using mouthwash containing glycyrrhizin also does not seem to reduce plaque.
A hereditary condition characterized by recurrent, painful swelling in the chest, stomach, or joints (Familial Mediterranean fever). Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing andrographis, Siberian ginseng, schisandra, and licorice (ImmunoGuard, Inspired Nutritionals) reduces the duration, frequency, and severity of attacks of familial Mediterranean fever in children.
Hepatitis. There is some evidence that certain components in licorice might be effective in treating hepatitis B and hepatitis C when given intravenously (by IV). Early research shows that using a specific IV product (Stronger Neominophagen C, Minophagen Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd) seems to reduce death by about 50%. However, the studies involved too few patients to draw firm conclusions.
High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking licorice root extract daily for 1 month reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol.
High potassium levels. Some research suggests that certain components in licorice decrease potassium levels in people with diabetes or kidney problems.
Abnormal levels of a hormone prolactin. Early evidence suggests that taking 45 grams of a specific product containing peony and licorice (Peony-Glycyrrhiza Decoction, PGD) daily for 4 weeks reduces levels of a hormone called prolactin in women with high levels of prolactin, without affecting other hormone levels or mental symptoms. Other early research suggests that a product containing licorice and peony (shakutaku-kanzo-to) reduces prolactin levels in men in the short-term, but not in the long-term.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research suggests that a product containing slippery elm bark, lactulose, oat bran, and licorice root can improve bowel movements in people with constipation-related to IBS. Stomach pain and bloating might also be reduced.
Mouth sores (lichen planus). Early evidence suggests that administering a certain licorice component intravenously (by IV) improves symptoms of mouth sores in people with hepatitis C.
Skin discoloration (melasma). Early research suggests that applying a cream containing licorice, emblica, and belides (Clariderm Clear, Stiefel Laboratories Inc., Guarulhos, SP, Brazil) twice daily for 60 days is effective for lightening skin in people with skin discolorations.
Hot flashes during menopause. Some early research shows that taking licorice root extract can reduce the number and intensity of hot flashes in menopausal women. But other early research shows that taking licorice root extract does not significantly reduce the number or intensity of hot flashes.
Muscle cramps. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing licorice and peony (Shakuyaku-kanzo-to) might reduce muscle cramps in people with liver disease (hepatic cirrhosis) or in people undergoing treatment for kidney failure (hemodialysis).
Liver disease not associated with alcohol use (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease). Early research suggests that taking 2 grams of licorice root extract daily for 2 months reduces test markers of liver injury in patients with liver disease not caused by drinking alcohol.
Pain. Early research suggests that taking a combination of licorice root and peony root with Taiwanese tonic vegetable soup containing lily bulb, lotus seed, and jujube fruit reduces pain in cancer patients.
Stomach ulcers. There is some evidence that specially prepared licorice will speed up the healing of stomach ulcers.Taking six to 12 tablets of a specific product containing licorice plus certain antacids (Caved-S, Cedona, Holland) daily for 4-16 weeks might speed up ulcer healing. However, taking similar licorice preparations (Ulcedal, Cedona, and others) that do not contain additional antacids does not appear to improve stomach ulcer symptoms.
Psoriasis. Early evidence suggests that applying a cream containing licorice and milk to the skin for 4 weeks does not reduce the amount of standard therapy needed, but does seem to improve skin peeling in patients with psoriasis.
Weight loss. There is conflicting information about the use of licorice for weight loss. Licorice seems to reduce body fat. However, it causes water retention that can offset any change in body weight.Other research suggests that taking a specific licorice product (Glavonoid) daily for 8 weeks has no effect on weight or body fat.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
it is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts for more than 4 weeks or in smaller amounts long-term. Consuming licorice daily for several weeks or longer can cause severe side effects including high blood pressure, low potassium levels, weakness, paralysis, and occasionally brain damage in otherwise healthy people. In people who eat a lot of salt or have heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure, as little as 5 grams per day can cause these problems.
Other side effects of licorice use include tiredness, absence of a menstrual period in women, headache, water and sodium retention, and decreased sexual interest and function in men.
People who chew tobacco flavored with licorice might develop high blood pressure and other serious side effects.
Do not take this combination
Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with LICORICE
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. The body breaks down warfarin (Coumadin) to get rid of it. Licorice might increase the breakdown and decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
Be cautious with this combination
Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with LICORICE
Large amounts of licorice can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).
Estrogens interacts with LICORICE
Licorice seems to change hormone levels in the body. Taking licorice along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.<br /><br /> Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
Ethacrynic Acid (Edecrin) interacts with LICORICE
Licorice can cause the body to get rid of potassium. Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) can also cause the body to get rid of potassium. Taking licorice and ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) together might cause potassium to become too low.
Furosemide (Lasix) interacts with LICORICE
Licorice can cause the body to get rid of potassium. Furosemide (Lasix) can also cause the body to get rid of potassium. Taking licorice and furosemide together might cause the potassium levels in your body to go too low.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2B6 (CYP2B6) substrates) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br /><br /> Licorice might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking licorice along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking licorice talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.<br /><br /> Some of these medications changed by the liver include ketamine (Ketalar), phenobarbital, orphenadrine (Norflex), secobarbital (Seconal), dexamethasone (Decadron), and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br /><br /> Licorice might change how the liver breaks down some medications. Taking licorice along with medications that are broken down by the liver might increase or decrease the effects of these medications. Before taking licorice, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.<br /><br /> Some medications changed by the liver include celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), and warfarin (Coumadin).
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.<br /><br /> Licorice might change how the liver breaks down some medications. Taking licorice along with medications that are broken down by the liver might increase or decrease the effects of some medications. Before taking licorice, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.<br /><br /> Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with LICORICE
Large amounts of licorice seem to increase blood pressure. By increasing blood pressure licorice might decrease the effectiveness of medications for high blood pressure.<br /><br /> Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids) interacts with LICORICE
Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body. Licorice might also decrease potassium in the body. Taking licorice along with some medications for inflammation might decrease potassium in the body too much.<br /><br /> Some medications for inflammation include dexamethasone (Decadron), hydrocortisone (Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone), and others.
Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with LICORICE
Large amounts of licorice can decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking licorice along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.<br /><br /> Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDIURIL, Microzide), and others.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.