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Liquorice Root
Glycyrrhizae Radix et Rhizoma
Medicinal Group Qi-tonifying medicinal

Dried root and rhizome of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fish., Glycyrrhiza inflata Bat. or Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Fam. Leguminosae)

Nature and Flavors sweet; neutral
Meridian Affinity Heart, Spleen, Lung, Stomach

To reinforce the function of the spleen and replenish qi, remove heat and counteract toxcity, dispel phlegm and relieve cough, alleviate spasmodic pain, and moderate drug actions



Part used

Root and Rhizome


Hypofunction of the spleen and the stomach marked by lassitude and weakness; cardiac palpitation and shortness of breath; cough with much phlegm; spasmodic pain in the epigastrium, abdomen and limbs; carbuncles and sores, also used for reducing the toxic or drastic actions of other drugs

Research Findings

  • Glycyrrhizin is the major active constituent obtained from liquorice roots, one of the most widely used in herbal preparations for the treatment of liver complaints.[1]
  • In vivo and clinical studies have reported beneficial effects of both licorice and glycyrrhizin consumption including anti-ulcer, anti-viral, and hepatoprotective responses.[2]
  • Both aqueous and ethanolic liquorice extracts are potent cariostatic agents and are found to be palatable by child patients.[3]
  • A potential for simple effective caries-prevention for high-risk children has been demonstrated by a clinical intervention using sugar-free lollipops containing liquorice root extract. [4]


Incompatible with Radix Euphorbiae Pekinensis, Flos Genkwa and Radix Kansui

Report on adverse effect

Prolonged use (6 weeks) of excessive doses (50g/day) can lead to pseudoaldosteronism, which includes potassium depletion, sodium retention, oedema, hypertension, and weight gain [5, 6, 7]

Myoglobinuria and myopathy can occur [8]

Hepatotoxicity in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection [9]

Adverse reactions on the cardiovascular system may occur when using together with western medicine [10]



  1. Dastagir G, Rizvi MA. (2016). Review - Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Liquorice). Pak J Pharm Sci. , 29(5):1727-1733.
  2. Isbrucker RA, Burdock GA. ( 2006). Risk and safety assessment on the consumption of Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza sp.), its extract and powder as a food ingredient, with emphasis on the pharmacology and toxicology of glycyrrhizin. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. , 46(3):167-92. Epub 2006 Aug 1.
  3. Jain E, Pandey RK, Khanna R. ( 2013). Liquorice root extracts as potent cariostatic agents in pediatric practice. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. , 31(3):146-52. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.117964.
  4. Peters MC, Tallman JA, Braun TM, Jacobson JJ. ( 2010). Clinical reduction of S. mutans in pre-school children using a novel liquorice root extract lollipop: a pilot study. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. , 11(6):274-8.
  5. Bradley PR, ed. British herbal compendium, Vol. 1. Bournemouth, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992:145–148.
  6. Epistein MT et al. Effects of eating liquorice on the renin-angiotensin aldosterone axis in normal subjects. British medical journal, 1977, 1:488–490.
  7. Stewart PM et al. Mineralocorticoid activity of liquorice: 11- hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency comes of age. Lancet, 1987, ii:821–824.
  8. Caradonna P et al. Acute myopathy associated with chronic licorice ingestion: Reversible loss of myoadenylate deaminase activity. Ultrastructural pathology, 1992, 16:529–535.
  9. 何吉芬 (2010)。<淺談甘草及其製劑的毒副作用>。中國中醫藥現代遠程教育,23。
  10. Yuen MF, Tam S, Fung J, Wong D, Wong B, Lai CL (2006) Traditional Chinese medicine causing hepatotoxicity in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection: a 1-year prospective study. Aliment.Pharmacol.Ther., 24, 8, 1179-1186.

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