Licorice is a spice made from the dried root of a shrub species of the legume family.
The most commonly used licorice is Spanish or Italian licorice (European Licorice) originating from Asia and the region Mediterranean .
It has been used as a traditional herb in Asia and Europe for a long time.
Licorice is widely used to flavor candy, licorice gargles, chewing gum, chewing tobacco, mixed cough medicine, toothpaste, and drinking water as soft drink and beer.
It is also used as an ingredient in licorice tea and mixed herbal teas.
One of the main ingredients of licorice is a very sweet substance, is said to be much sweeter than regular sugar.
Along with other biologically active substances in licorice, glycyrrhizin also has specific health effects, both good and bad.
This is licorice root (on the left):
Dried licorice root is mainly included carbohydrates , minerals, and biological plant compounds.
According to dry weight, carbon hydrate is mainly in the form of starch (30%), while the rest is sugar, including glucose, fructose and sucrose .
Licorice root includes both insoluble and soluble fiber. Licorice extract has only soluble fiber, has a mild laxative effect when used in large amounts.
Licorice extract is often used as a flavoring in licorice sweets, which are especially popular in Northern Europe.
In fact, candy is one of the main sources of licorice food.
It is only available in black licorice. Confectionery with the same texture is sometimes considered licorice.
Like other candies, licorice candy contains many sugar additives, which adversely affect health when eaten in large amounts.
Commonly added ingredients include molasses, star anise, m (in salty licorice), and adhesives, such as starch, gelatin, or glue from acacia.
Salted licorice contains large amounts of ammonium chloride (salmiak), very popular in Northern Europe.
Conclude: Licorice is usually consumed in the form of candy, with a high concentration of sugar additives.
Other plant compounds
Licorice contains many bioactive substances, including Antioxidants polyphenols and saponins.
Here are the main compounds:
- Glycyrrhizin: Also known as glycyrrhizic acid, glycyrrhizin is the most abundant plant compound in licorice root (2-3%) and in licorice extract (10-25%). It is responsible for many health benefits .
- Liquiritin: Antioxidants contribute to the yellow color of licorice roots .
- Liquiritigenin: One of the main antioxidants in licorice. It is a phytoestrogen, a substance similar to female sex hormones, estrogen. It has many health benefits .
- Glabridin: A type of antioxidant and phytoestrogen that has a lot of health effects .
Conclude: Licorice contains some biological plant compounds that are responsible for health effects. These include glycyrrhizin, liquiritin, liquiritigenin, and glabridin.
Health benefits of licorice
Licorice has a long history of making herbs in traditional medicine. It has been used to treat many diseases .
Because it contains many biological plant compounds, it can affect the body in many ways.
Prevent stomach ulcers
, also called gastritis, is characterized by a wound in the stomach wall.
The main symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, and loss of appetite.
In the worst case, the stomach wall may be punctured, this is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Infection Helicobacter pylori is one of the most common causes.
Licorice root extract has been used to treat long-standing peptic ulcers .
Glycyrrhizin, one of the main bioactive compounds in licorice, is believed to be responsible for these protective effects.
In fact, synthetic glycyrrhizin, has been used as an anti-ulcer drug .
There have been mixed results from studies of the effects of licorice on gastric ulcers. Some have indicated that licorice has a protective effect , while others do not .
However, there is convincing evidence that licorice can be beneficial, at least in some cases.
The antimicrobial effect of licorice is the cause of these benefits. Glabridin, one of the compounds in licorice, can inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, one of the main causes of peptic ulcer .
Conclude: Licorice is beneficial in treating stomach ulcers.
Obesity is a serious condition with the moon especially accumulating too much fat in the body.
Animal studies indicate that flavonoids in licorice (licorice flavonoid oil) can inhibit fat accumulation and weight gain .
Similar effects have occurred on humans.
A randomized controlled trial in 84 overweight men and women admitted that taking 300-900 mg of licorice flavonoid oil daily for 8 weeks significantly reduced body fat compared to placebo .
Another small trial in 15 healthy men and women had similar results. Using 3.5 grams of licorice extract daily for 2 months significantly reduces body fat. However, this study failed to include the control group .
These effects seem to be caused by glycyrrhizin, but the mechanism is not clear.
In summary, there is evidence that eating licorice (or licorice flavonoid oil) can help prevent and treat obesity.
Note that this does not apply to licorice candy containing many sugar additives.
Conclude: Licorice extract or licorice flavonoid oil helps promote weight loss.
Side effects of licorice and personal concerns
Eating lots of licorice can cause serious side effects, such as high blood pressure, low potassium, edema (swelling) and headaches.
However, licorice sensitivity varies from person to person.
Some people only need small doses, while others need to consume a large amount of new can cause side effects.
For most people, taking a small amount is not harmful.
is an adverse condition, characterized by abnormally high blood pressure that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
This is one of the most well known side effects when consuming licorice.
Glycyrrhizin, the main bioactive compound in licorice, is thought to cause this problem .
A study of 30 healthy men and women showed that eating 100 grams of licorice daily for 4 weeks significantly increased blood pressure .
Even 50 grams of licorice daily for 2 weeks can also raise blood pressure in some people .
These reactions are related to the dose and depend on the individual. In some people, blood pressure may increase when only a small amount is used, while in others it requires a larger amount.
Conclude: Hypertension is a common side effect of licorice use in some people.
Reduce the amount of potassium
Hypokalemia, a condition characterized by low potassium levels in the blood, is a common side effect of excessive licorice consumption.
Like hypertension, it is caused by glycyrrhizin .
The main symptoms of severe hypokalemia include muscle weakness, abnormal heart rhythm and muscle cramps. It is also a risk factor for heart disease .
Taking 100-200 grams of licorice candy daily for 4 weeks is enough to cause hypokalemia in some people .
However, this effect may be reversed, and potassium levels will return to normal after a few weeks when consumption is stopped.
Conclude: Over time, excessive licorice consumption can reduce blood potassium, muscle weakness and muscle spasms.
Childbirth at less than 37 weeks of gestation is defined as premature birth.
Premature babies are at higher risk of adverse health conditions and may cause developmental delays.
According to some observational studies, licorice consumption has a profound effect on preterm birth .
However, more research is needed to confirm these things.
Although the evidence is limited, pregnant women should limit their consumption of licorice.
Conclude: During pregnancy, licorice use can cause premature birth, but there is not much evidence for this.
Many licorice products, such as candy, contain many sugar additives.
Regular consumption of high-sugar foods increases the risk health problems Such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Therefore, limit the use of licorice candy.
Conclude: Licorice candies often contain high sugar content. In addition, it promotes weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
Licorice is a spice often used to flavor candy.
It has a lot of unique plant compounds with many health benefits.
On the positive side, it helps prevent stomach ulcers and weight gain, but it also has some side effects, including hypertension.
For this reason avoid excessive use of licorice.