Liquorice - Best Herb for Gastric Ulcer

Liquorice

Glycyrrhiza glabra Fabaceae.


This perennial shrub is native to southern Europe. It has upright branched stems to about 1m high, bearing alternate leaves made up of 7-17 bright green leaflets. Its small pale blue to lilac flowers grow in spikes. It has thick, woody rhizomatous roots and creeping. stems that can reach 2m in length. The fruit is a reddish brown pod.


Parts used

  • Roots
  • The roots are collected in autumn from plants that are at least three years old.
  • Once washed, the roots are dried in the sunshine.
  • The roots are used in segments, in powders (for infusions and macerations) or as a juice.

Constituents

A large proportion of the root is composed of polysaccharides. Other components include coumarins, a small amount of phytosterols (mainly oestriol), flavonoids, saponins (in particular glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhizinic acid) and some traces of essential oil that give the plant its aroma and sweet taste. The pharmacological activity is due to the flavonoids and saponins.


CAUTIONS

  • Any treatment using liquorice must be accompanied by a low-salt diet and should never last longer than 4-6 weeks.
  • The maximum daily dose of glycyrrhizin is 100mg. Care should be taken not to consume too many drinks or sweets containing liquorice during the treatment.
  • The plant should not be taken during pregnancy or if suffering from high blood pressure, heart problems requiring the use of the drug digitalis, or any illnesses that hinders the elimination of salts from the body, such as liver disorders.
  • Liquorices is not recommended for individuals with kidney disorders.

PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT digestive problems DECOCTION Put 1-1.5g of blanched root into a cup of cold water. Boil for 10-15 minutes, then strain. Drink 2 cups a day at main meals. Follow this course of treatment only every other month.


INFUSION Infuse 1-2 teaspoons of powdered root in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink 2 cups a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Medicinal uses

The glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhizinic acid in liquorice impart several medicinal properties: it can be used to treat gastric ulcers and inflammation, it releases phlegm and soothes coughs, eases asthma, stimulates the immune system and helps to fight dental plaque and tooth decay, as well as mouth and throat infections.


Liquorice root is also used to treat digestive problems such as bloating, spasms, sluggish digestion, belching and flatulence. The plant has a slight oestrogenic effect and its flavonoids, can help to protect liver cells and combat free radicals.


Liquorice can also be used to treat skin inflammation and infections. Research published in 1980 demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of glycyrrhizinic acid against erythema (reddening of the skin) caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. Liquorice also stimulates the secretion of aldosterone, a hormone that causes water and sodium retention, but prevents the retention .of potassium. As a result, it has adverse side effects if taken in large doses, particularly in people with heart or liver problems.


Cultivation

Plant in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny location. The seeds should be sown in spring.



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