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The Surprising Health Benefits of Licorice

When someone mentions licorice, most of us think of the chewy black candy. But in its natural form, licorice is a potent health booster.

The licorice plant is a legume. It is native to parts of Europe and Asia.1

It has a long history of use in both Western and Eastern traditional medicine.2

The sweet flavor of licorice is due to glycyrrhizin. This compound is beneficial in several ways… especially as an anti-inflammatory agent. But when consumed to excess it can cause side effects, particularly in people over 40. These include raising blood pressure and dangerously reducing potassium.3

But licorice is also available in a form minus glycyrrhizin called DGL. DGL has most of the benefits of regular licorice with no side effects.

4 Health Benefits of Licorice

Cortisol Regulation: Chronic stress causes your adrenal gland to produce excess cortisol. Too much of this hormone can lead to heart disease, anxiety, depression, digestive problems, and weight gain.

A study from Queen Margaret University Edinburgh found licorice helps regulate cortisol. This has the added benefit of keeping the adrenal glands from being overworked.4

Stronger Immunity: A study published in the journal Food Chemistry found that licorice can “treat and prevent diseases.” This is due to the herb’s antioxidant, free-radical scavenging “immunostimulating” effects.5

Better Digestion: A randomized, double-blind study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated licorice in the form of DGL.6

Participants were given either a placebo or 75 mg of DGL. All of them suffered from digestive symptoms such as nausea and heartburn. Compared to the placebo group, the DGL subjects had much better relief from their symptoms after 15 and 30 days. And licorice extract was found to be “safe and well-tolerated.”

Cold Relief: Licorice is an expectorant, which means it loosens mucus to help you breathe easier when you have a cold. And a study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found licorice was “significantly superior” to a placebo for relieving sore throat pain.7

So there you have it…

Licorice has both centuries of tradition and hard science backing up its efficacy as a natural health remedy.

But don’t consume it in sugary candy form. Instead, get the herbal supplement in DGL or licorice root form. As long as you follow the label directions, either will provide safe, effective relief for a wide range of common health problems.

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References: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7