Licorice Root Supplement Review

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Licorice Root
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Peptic ulcer disease
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)


  • Licorice root, mostly produced in Greece, Turkey and Asia, is used medicinally and may be helpful as an anti-inflammatory for peptic ulcer disease.
  • It may be helpful in the short term for gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Licorice contains a chemical called glycyrrhizic acid, which is responsible for many of the reported side effects. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) has had the glycyrrhizic acid removed, and therefore is considered safer for use.


  • Side effects of glycyrrhizic acid include fluid retention, hypertension and hypokalemia.
  • Literature reviews suggest limited clinical benefits of licorice.
  • Future studies are needed regarding the benefits for topical cream for lips or cervix during viral outbreaks, atopic dermatitis, or for eczema.

Whole licorice can be dangerous for patients on digoxin or with hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Whole licorice lowers testosterone levels in men; that effect can lead to infertility and impotence. Whole licorice has mild estrogen activity, making it not advisable for pregnant or nursing women or patients with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that while Licorice root shows promise for treating peptic ulcer disease, there is not enough evidence for us to recommend its use for this indication. It should be considered the medicine of last resort for patients with peptic ulcer disease or those with gastric irritation from NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen). If you do elect to try it, please discuss your decision with your doctor, and observe carefully for any changes in your health.

“Licorice.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Licorice.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Licorice. EBSCO Publishing (2011) 1-5

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