Licorice (Extract and Root Powder)

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a shrub, with graceful feathery foliage and spikes of small yellowish or purplish flowers, native to Southeast Europe and Southwest Asia. An extract is prepared from the cleaned and dried roots and rhizomes that contain mainly glycyrrhizin, glabridin, and naturally occurring sugars.1 The roots are crushed and boiled, and the decoction is filtered, concentrated and spray dried to a powder form. Licorice has traditionally been used as a digestive aid and flavoring agent due to its sweet taste.


Health Benefits

Licorice extract has been used to help relieve symptoms in upper respiratory tract infection and gastric or duodenal ulcers.1 Licorice root extract may reduce cholesterol levels in individuals with high cholesterol and work as an antioxidant.2 Licorice root may relieve symptoms of impaired digestion (functional dyspepsia) and gastric/duodenal ulcers.3 Licorice may also aid in improving the liver in individuals with chronic hepatitis C.4


Chronic and excessive consumption of higher dose licorice might cause potassium loss and sodium retention in the body that may accompany hypokalemia, edema and hypertension.1,5,6


  1. Licorice Root. American Botanical Council. Accessed in July 2015.
  2. Fuhrman B, Volkova N, Kaplan M, Presser D, Attias J, Hayek T, Aviram M. Antiatherosclerotic effects of licorice extract supplementation on hypercholesterolemic patients: increased resistance of LDL to atherogenic modifications, reduced plasma lipid levels, and decreased systolic blood pressure. Nutrition. 2002 Mar;18(3):268-73. PubMed PMID: 11882402.
  3. Madisch A, Melderis H, Mayr G, Sassin I, Hotz J. [A plant extract and its modified preparation in functional dyspepsia. Results of a double-blind placebo controlled comparative study]. Z Gastroenterol. 2001 Jul;39(7):511-7. German. PubMed PMID: 11505331.
  4. van Rossum TG, Vulto AG, de Man RA, Brouwer JT, Schalm SW. Review article: glycyrrhizin as a potential treatment for chronic hepatitis C. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Mar;12(3):199-205. Review. PubMed PMID: 9570253.
  5. Elinav E, Chajek-Shaul T. Licorice consumption causing severe hypokalemic paralysis. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003 Jun;78(6):767-8. PubMed PMID: 12934789.
  6. Lin SH, Yang SS, Chau T, Halperin ML. An unusual cause of hypokalemic paralysis: chronic licorice ingestion. Am J Med Sci. 2003 Mar;325(3):153-6. PubMed PMID: 12640291.