Botanical Name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
Liquorice is a popular flavoring agent. It is a tall, erect herb, growing up-to about 1.5 meters in height. It has compound leaves, lilac or light violet flowers, flat fruit and is densely covered with small spinous outgrowths. The dried roots and underground stems or rhizomes of the liquorice plant constitute the drug.
Licorice has been known to pharmacists for thousands of years.
In ancient Chinese pharmacy, it was used for its rejuvenating properties especially when used for long periods. It was used to quench thirst, alleviate feverishness, pain, cough and distress of breathing.
It plays an important part in Ayurvedic system of medicine. The herb is cultivated in southern Europe, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Greece and Russia.
The root of the plant is a laxative and expectorant. When externally used it has a soothing effect on the skin, Powdered herb is very popular in allopathic medicine.
Liquorice is an excellent remedy for relieving pain, discomfort and other symptoms caused by acrid matter in the stomach. It should be taken in powder form.
The herb is a recognized home remedy for sore throat. A small piece of raw herb if chewed or sucked, provides relief by soothing the inflammation.
Lubricating the throat with a decoction of the herb mixed with honey brings relief in dry cough.
It is used in the treatment of myopia. Half a teaspoon of the powder of the root, mixed with an equal amount of honey and half the quantity of ghee, can be given twice daily with milk on an empty stomach in this case.
The herb is also used as a laxative in constipation. Its Powder is taken with jaggery and water in this condition.
This is very effective in treating pain due to stomach ulcers, as it soothes the irritation caused by acids. Pieces of the dried root soaked overnight in water and the infusion taken with rice helps in the cure of ulcers. It also helps in peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter-pylori.
The herb alleviates muscular pains. Taking an infusion of the roots soaked overnight relieves any chronic joint problems.
The sticks of dried rhizomes are soaked in water and the infusion used as a gargle brings quick relief in oral inflammations. Tiny bits of the stick with sugar-candy can also be sucked.
The herb is effective in treating patchy baldness. Small pieces of the root are ground with milk with a pinch of saffron to a paste.
When this paste is applied over the bald patches at bedtime regularly, hair growth is seen within a few weeks. This prescription is very effective in the initial stages of baldness, excessive hair loss and dandruff.
Wounds and Scalds
The powder mixed with butter or ghee and honey, can be applied on cuts and wounds with good results. The leaves of the plant, applied as a poultice, is a useful remedy in scalds of the head and body.
The herb heals corns which are just appearing. A paste of liquorice sticks mixed with sesame or mustard oil, if rubbed into the hardened skin at bed time softens the skin and the corn decreases in size.
Continuous and uninterrupted use of licorice in the treatment of stomach ulcer is not advisable as it may cause increase (in weight and puffiness of body. It should also be avoided in pregnancy and in heart and kidney conditions.