Glycyrrhiza glabra

Plant family: Leguminosae (Pea family)

Part used: root

Taste: sweet

Historical commentary: The herb was named glycyrrhiza by Dioscorides in reference to its incredible sweet taste, which has led it to become one of the main flavoring herbs in the world. The herb has been used as a potent medicine from Europe to Asia (in Asia, G. uralensis is the source).


Anti-ulcer: reduces stomach pain due to ulcers.

Antispasmodic: alleviates intestinal cramping (colic).

Cholegogue: promotes flow of bile.

Hepatoprotective: Licorice reduces liver inflammation; in high doses, it inhibits the viruses that cause liver inflammation.

Phlegm-resolving: Licorice is used for cough with difficult to expectorate sputum (e.g., with common cold, bronchitis, chronic sputum production). It is considered demulcent, useful for dry-phlegm conditions that cause hoarseness and wheezing.

Modern findings: The herb has powerful anti-inflammatory actions, the effect being due to both its saponin and flavonoid content.

Dosage: 3-5 grams; far lesser amounts are usually used in formulas.

Active constituents: Glycyrrhizic acid, a saponin, present in amounts of at least 5%, and liquiritin, a flavonoid in amounts of at least 1%, are responsible for most of the known therapeutic actions. Their anti-inflammatory action is partly mediated via saponin effects on the adrenal cortex excretion of hormones, and partly by a direct action of the flavonoids on inflamed tissues.

Cautions: Prolonged ingestion of large doses of licorice (usually more than 15 grams per day for many days, 10 times the amount in these teas) can result in hyperaldosteronism, which leads to imbalanced secretion of potassium and sodium. When large doses of licorice extract are used for treating gastric ulcer, a deglycerated product is often used so as to avoid this problem.

Künzle Formulas: Tea for Mood, Tea for Digestion, Laxative Tea, Slimming Tea, Tea for Colds.