Love it or hate it, there’s just no other way when it comes down to eating licorice root.
But to those who enjoy it…are doing a great favor to their body and health.
Ancient Remedies with Licorice Root
Indian medicine, also known as Ayurveda, alongside the traditional Chinese medicine have both been using it to successfully treat many different ailments:
- Sore throats
- Chest pains
- Hair loss
- Fortifying bones and muscles
- Alleviating liver problems
- Curing bronchitis and mouth ulcer
Also, in Chinese medicine, licorice root is given to patients suffering from gastric ulcers 20 to 30 minutes before meals. This greatly alleviates their condition.
The medicinal properties of the licorice root are given by powerful phytochemicals such as flavonoids, chalcones, xenoestrogens, and saponins.
In fact, the most praised saponin inside licorice root is Glycyrrhizin, a compound that is almost 50 times as sweet as sugar.
And according to the Journal of Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism, licorice root has even been used as a thirst quencher, since it stimulates the production of saliva.
Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar endorsed its remarkable ability, given that the soldiers they led in battle used licorice to quench their thirst.
But here’s another added benefit of that: stimulated saliva also increases the resistance to caries.
The history of licorice root is truly fascinating, as even King Tutankhamun, one of the most famous pharaohs in the history of Ancient Egypt, had supplies of licorice in his tomb since this was one of his favorite sweets.
Licorice VS Diabetes
But licorice root has a surprising and largely unexploited potential in the prevention and treatment of grave diseases, such as diabetes.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin have now discovered that licorice root also contains substances called amorfrutins. This compound can reduce high blood sugar and has proved to be highly effective in the treatment of adult (type 2) diabetes.
As the researchers demonstrated using diabetic mice, the amorfrutins are truly incredible:
"The health-beneficial effects are based on the fact that the amorfrutin molecules dock directly onto a receptor in the nucleus called PPARγ.
PPARγ plays an important role in the cell's fat and glucose metabolism. The binding of the amorfrutin molecules activates various genes that reduce the plasma concentration of certain fatty acids and glucose. The reduced glucose level prevents the development of insulin resistance -- the main cause of adult diabetes.”
And apart from that, they also have a potent anti-inflammatory effect. So licorice can be used to treat chronic inflammation like :
- inflammatory eye conditions like conjunctivitis
- skin and auto-immune diseases
Immunity Boosting Properties
Another great thing about it is that it helps bolster your immunity. Extracts from the licorice root help:
- increase the production of lymphocytes and macrophages that help protect against microbial attacks
- treat allergies caused by poor immunity and autoimmune complications.
But I have to issue a warning: If you consume too much of this root, you could suffer from licorice toxicity. So make sure you don’t consume more than 5g of licorice root more than 2 times/week. That's because glycyrrhizin, one of its most remarkable saponin compounds can become harmful to your body.
When consumed in excess, licorice root can cause water retention, hypokalemia (low blood levels of potassium), myopathy (muscle disease), increased blood pressure, heart problems, decreased or stopped menstrual periods, weakness, dulled reflexes, lethargy, edema, and blood problems.
And here’s something else you might need to know: licorice can also interfere and block the effects of prednisone, birth-control and hormone replacement pills.
Were you aware of licorice’s health benefits?
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