Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a strong mucosal anti-inflammatory that can be used for gastric, esophageal, urinary, and respiratory inflammation. It eases dry coughs and sore throats when used as a tea or syrup. Licorice root helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and is useful in treating both hypoglycemia and diabetes. It is used in many traditional Chinese medicine formulations as a small part of the formula.
Although licorice is a safe herb, some cautions are necessary when taking large doses for long periods of time. Licorice should be avoided in cases of high blood pressure or when taking digitalis. It causes retention of water and sodium and excretion of potassium, which can cause edema (water retention), high blood pressure, heart palpitations, or a slowing of the heartburn. Vertigo (dizziness) and headaches are early symptoms of overuse of licorice. Taking a potassium supplement with licorice can help counteract some of these effects. These side effects are much more likely to occur when using licorice extracts or licorice-derived drugs than when taking whole licorice root. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is free of adverse effects. Use in pregnancy only under the supervision of a qualified herbalist or practitioner. Small quantities as part of a formula are okay during pregnancy.
This can be taken as a decoction, tincture, glycerite, or capsule