Licorice root is one of those all-purpose herbs. It could fight inflammation. It may attack viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. It may be a good cleanser of the colon. It could be good for the breathing system, as it could reduce muscle spasms and increase the movement of mucus in the lungs and bronchial tubes. Licorice is used to support adrenal gland function (your adrenal glands are responsible
for regulating many hormones and also for the electrolyte balance in your body). Licorice could even help stop plaque from growing on the enamel of your teeth.
But that’s not all. Licorice could help with some pretty serious conditions too, like hepatitis C. Apparently licorice may prevent the development of liver cancer and cirrhosis in people who already have hepatitis C. Licorice has also been used to treat allergies, depression, chronic fatigue, emphysema, and hypoglycemia. Whew — that’s quite a list! Let’s see what some clinical trials say about the effectiveness of licorice in a few of these treatments.
In Japan, the hepatitis C virus is the single most frequent cause of liver cancer. It results in over 30,000 deaths each year. Medical scientists do not yet understand how hepatitis C leads to liver cancer, but they think it has something to do with infections and inflammatory changes caused by the virus. Because of this link, for more than 40 years, a preparation of licorice called “Stronger Neo-Minophagen
C” or SNMC has been used for the treatment of hepatitis in Japan.
A clinical trial was performed to try to evaluate the effectiveness of licorice in preventing the development of liver cancer. Patients with chronic hepatitis received 40 ml/day of SNMC for four weeks, along with a control group receiving placebos. The researchers discovered that liver cirrhosis occurred less frequently in 178 patients on long-term SNMC than in 100 controls: 28% vs. 40%. Also,
liver cancer developed less frequently in the 84 patients on long-term SNMC than in the 109 controls: 13% vs. 29%. The researchers concluded that these results indicate that a long-term treatment with SNMC could prevent the development of liver cancer in patients with chronic hepatitis. In particular, the researchers reported that SNMC is particularly helpful in patients with chronic hepatitis C
who don’t respond to, or can’t be treated with, interferon.
There is a lot of evidence out there for the effectiveness of licorice in treating various conditions. One word of caution about licorice extract: if taken for more than seven days in a row, it can cause high blood pressure. If you suffer from diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, or have a history
of stroke, you may not be able to use licorice as a remedy – talk to your healthcare provider or a naturopathic doctor. And one final note: licorice-flavored candy does not work for medicinal purposes since it is made mostly with anise, not licorice.
And remember, you can always get more natural health advice, the latest alternative health breakthroughs and news, plus information about nutrition, alternative remedies and cures and doctors health advice, all free when you sign up for the Bel Marra Newsletter. Visit http://www.belmarra.ca/belmarra_health_news.php now to find out how to start your free subscription.