Regenerative Rewards Like Us
You are here: Library Product Information Liquorice

Liquorice

 

The Importance of Liquorice in the Management of Auto-Immune Disorders

By John Claydon D.Hom

  

  

Note: Liquorice is also available with Kalawalla as Immuno-Calm

 

 
Liquorice herb (Glycyrrhiza Glabra), the well known component of Liquorice sweets, is surprisingly one of the most important medicinal herbs on the planet.  It has been used extensively in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years, in approximately half of their formulas. The reason given is that it tends to improve the action of all the other herbs and harmonise the action of the herbal formula. More recently, medical herbalist Gerald Green has elucidated its tremendous value in the reversal of auto-immune diseases. The patients he has treated have suffered from asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and multiple-sclerosis. However the action of liquorice is presumed to be potentially effective (depends on the person, diet etc not the particular disease as they are all related), on all auto-immune diseases.
 

 

 

This action is far wider than just helping to treat specific diseases. For example it includes many cases of inflammation and common conditions such as allergies. The auto-immune aspect of a health problem is extremely common, even though we may not be aware of this. This aspect is discussed more fully in the article Factors Involved In Auto-Immune Disorders and Effective Treatment Protocols   It is extremely common, due to many factors such as stress, nutritional deficiencies, inoculations, electromagnetic pollution, lack of sunlight on skin (Vitamin D deficiency, click here for our vitamin D supplement) and so on; the immune system becomes unbalanced so that on one hand, the immune response to virus and internal toxemia may be inadequate, and on the other, there is often an over-reaction. This results in inflammation, and attack of ‘self’. This may range from something as simple as fatigue, allergies, or all the way through to a serious auto-immune disorder such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disorders, and most chronic disease. Improving this balance with the use of Liquorice can make the totality of your nutritional supplements and diet work better for you, as realized by the Chinese herbalists many years ago. As Liquorice works in a different manner to Kaliwalla, it's action is therefore complimentary in the management and treatment of auto-immune disorders.

 

How Does Liquorice Achieve its Action?

 

Liquorice contains Glycosides called glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhizinic acid; these have a structure similar to the natural steroids in the body and tend to rapidly restore natural steroid production from the adrenal glands. In addition, the direct action of these glycosides, along with other ingredients in the liquorice seem to have an almost magical effect in reducing inflammation and the entire auto-immune mal-response. (Please note that if you suffer from systemic Candida Albicans infection, usually due to antibiotics, artificial steroids and other medicines combined with a long period of low immune system and poor diet, then you are unlikely to obtain relief from any herb, including liquorice. Remedies to eliminate Candida must be used along side or prior to any other remedies, please see the article on Candida Albicans.

 

Liquorice also contains plant sterols including sitosterol and stigmasterol, more than thirty flavonoids and isoflavonoids have been identified, including liquiritin and its derivatives.  We know that plant sterols have been shown in clinical trials and in general use (See Sterols and Sterolins), to improve the majority of patients with auto-immune disorders, however, experience leads us to believe that Liquorice, especially in combination with Kalawalla is superior in this aspect. For me, taking Sterols and Sterolins from the product Naturleaf produced general health benefits and improved energy, it did not prevent the re-occurrence of asthma. Taking Liquorice had an obvious effect within hours of the first dose and repeatedly I found that it would turn off the initial stages on asthma like a switch. Note: if you have asthma, or bronchitis the formulation of Liquorice root, slippery elm and Lobelia (Gerald Greens Asthma and Bronchitis Formula) has a tremendously high success rate (according to Gerald Green) of almost 100% in babies and children and 80% in adults; irrespective of how serious the condition. So for general health benefits, improvement in energy, immune strengthening and a fair degree of immuno-modulatory effects along with all the aspects discussed in the article, then Naturleafhas its use. However for overactive immune system and auto-immune disorders/diseases then Liquorice is the first remedy of choice, as part of the treatment protocol.

 

It is interesting to note that during periods of detoxification, e.g. old catarrh/mucus ‘coming to the surface’ and being eliminated, the immune system can be encouraged to become over-active or ‘auto-immune’, and it is at these times that I find a special need for liquorice. Persons with chronic auto-immune disorders will usually need to continue with Liquorice as part of there treatment protocol for a considerable length of time, bearing in mind the cautions/side effects discussed next. If you decide not to take Liquorice, the Kalawalla is available without liquorice

 

The cautions and side effects of regular Liquorice consumption

 

Women appear to be somewhat more susceptible than men, and oral contraceptives may increase this sensitivity.

Pregnant women should not use liquorice at medicinal doses. There is a danger of high blood pressure or of a hormone imbalance that would harm the fetus.

People with extremely high blood pressure (See our article on Heart and circulation and Blood Pressure) should be careful with the use of liquorice, and monitor their blood pressure daily, as in some rare cases Liquorice can raise B.P. However Kaliwalla tends to lower high B.P. so as a combination this rare tendency to raise B.P. in those already suffering from  high B.P. is increasingly unlikely, but as with almost any herbal or nutritional supplement if you have very high B.P. a home based Blood pressure monitor, for daily monitoring is suggested. Also the foregoing applies to anyone with a heart problem, and  should use liquorice only under medical supervision, as in rare cases Potassium depletion caused by liquorice is especially hazardous for such patients. Anyone with pre-existing hypokalemia (low potassium) should not take liquorice.

People with kidney disease, especially the elderly, may be at increased risk of side effects.

  

Gallbladder disease and cirrhosis are considered contraindications for liquorice.

Generally these cautions are related to doses of over six grams a day, (although there are always a very small minority of individuals who react to any herbal product untypically, so in extremely rare cases even doses on one gram a day of the root may cause some of the listed side effects). Gerald Green, in his extensive experience of prescribing liquorice for his auto-immune patients has found that one gram a day is normally sufficient to accomplish its beneficial effects, the exception being in the Asthma and Bronchitis formula, where 3 grams a day is consumed if the tea is taken at the maximum of 4 doses a day.

 

The side effects that occur are related to the fact that Liquorice helps to conserve sodium in the body.

 

To re-iterate, side effects are very rare if the dose is kept to one gram daily, and liquorice has been used extensively throughout history in foods, and herbal remedies, and being extremely beneficial for the vast majority of persons taking it, one need to keep a balanced view concerning the safety issues

  

More Information

 

If we look at use of liquorice from a western perspective, we see that its use has changed little over 3,000 years. It is considered demulcent (soothing to irritated membranes), expectorant (loosening and helping to expel congestion in the upper respiratory tract), and stimulates mucous secretions of the trachea. Other well-documented activities include significant anti-inflammatory effects, a protecting effect on the liver against toxic substances and anti-allergic activity. Studies have shown that glycyrrhizin stimulates the excretion of hormones by the adrenal cortex.

 

Personally I have found liquorice to be more effective and totally harmless in its ability to help the body produce the correct type and amount of natural steroids, whereas drug based steroids, in my experience are less effective and will in time seriously disrupt the body’s homeostasis and render it susceptible to Candida Albicans infection and other health problems. Glycyrrhizin has a similar chemical structure to corticosteroids released by the adrenals, and further studies have suggested that it could be used as an aid in helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms from dependency on some corticosteroid hormones. Glycyrrhizin has also shown estrogenic activity in laboratory animals, and is experimentally anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and antibacterial. In China, liquorice root is used as an antacid.

 

Liquorice herb (Glycyrrhiza Glabra), the well known component of Liquorice sweets, is surprisingly one of the most important medicinal herbs on the planet.  It has been used extensively in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years, in approximately half of their formulas. The reason given is that it tends to improve the action of all the other herbs and ‘harmonise’ the action of the herbal formula. More recently, medical herbalist Gerald Green has elucidated its tremendous value in the reversal of auto-immune diseases. The patients he has treated have suffered from asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and multiple-sclerosis. However the action of liquorice is presumed to be potentially effective (depends on the person, diet etc not the particular disease as they are all related), on all auto-immune diseases.

 

This action is far wider than just helping to treat specific diseases. For example it includes many cases of inflammation and common conditions such as allergies. The auto-immune aspect of a health problem is extremely common, even though we may not be aware of this. This aspect is discussed more fully in the article Factors Involved In Auto-Immune Disorders And Effective Treatment Protocols. It is extremely common, due to many factors such as stress, nutritional deficiencies, inoculations, electromagnetic pollution and so on; the immune system becomes unbalanced so that on one hand, the immune response to virus and internal toxaemia may be inadequate, but on the other, there is often an over-reaction rendering the B cells overactive (and T cells under-functioning), this results in inflammation, and attack of ‘self’. This may range from something as simple as fatigue, allergies, or all the way through to a serious auto-immune disorder such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disorders, and most chronic disease. A list of auto-immune disorders is given at the end of this article, but please bear in mind you do not have to have a known auto-immune disorder to have immune imbalance, and that improving this balance with the use of Liquorice can make the totality of your nutritional supplements and diet work better for you, as realized by the Chinese herbalists many years ago.

 

How Does Liquorice Achieve its Action?

 

Liquorice contains Glycosides called glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhizinic acid; these have a structure similar to the natural steroids in the body and tend to rapidly restore natural steroid production from the adrenal glands. In addition, the direct action of these glycosides, along with other ingredients in the liquorice seem to have an almost magical effect in reducing inflammation and the entire auto-immune mal-response. (Please note that if you suffer from systemic Candida Albicans infection, usually due to antibiotics, artificial steroids and other medicines combined with a long period of low immune system and poor diet, then you are unlikely to obtain relief from any herb, including liquorice. Remedies to eliminate Candida must be used along side or prior to any other remedies, please see the article on Candida Albicans.

 

Liquorice also contains plant sterols including sitosterol and stigmasterol, more than thirty flavonoids and isoflavonoids have been identified, including liquiritin and its derivatives.  We know that plant sterols have been shown in clinical trials and in general use (See Sterols and Sterolins), to improve the majority of patients with auto-immune disorders, however, experience leads us to believe that Liquorice may be superior in this aspect. For me, taking Sterols and Sterolins from the product Naturleaf produced general health benefits and improved energy, it did not prevent the re-occurrence of asthma. Taking Liquorice had an obvious effect within hours of the first dose and repeatedly I found that it would turn off the initial stages on asthma like a switch. Note: if you have asthma, or bronchitis the formulation of Liquorice root, slippery elm and Lobelia (Gerald Greens Asthma and Bronchitis Formula) has a tremendously high success rate (according to Gerald Green) of almost 100% in babies and children and 80% in adults; irrespective of how serious the condition. So for general health benefits, improvement in energy, immune strengthening and a fair degree of immuno-modulatory effects along with all the aspects discussed in the article, then Naturleaf has its use. However for overactive immune system and auto-immune disorders/diseases then Liquorice is the first remedy of choice, as part of the treatment protocol. Personally, I continue to take Naturleaf on a daily basis as well as liquorice during periods when I feel I need it.

 

It is interesting to note that during periods of detoxification, e.g. old catarrh/mucus ‘coming to the surface’ and being eliminated, the immune system can be encouraged to become over-active or ‘auto-immune’, and it is at these times that I find a special need for liquorice. Persons with chronic auto-immune disorders will usually need to continue with Liquorice as part of there treatment protocol for a considerable length of time, bearing in mind the cautions/side effects discussed next.

  

The cautions and side effects of regular Liquorice consumption

  • Women appear to be somewhat more susceptible than men, and oral contraceptives may increase this sensitivity.
  • Pregnant women should not use liquorice at medicinal doses. There is a danger of high blood pressure or of a hormone imbalance that would harm the foetus.
  • People with very high blood pressure should avoid the use of liquorice, which could aggravate their condition. Anyone with a heart problem should use liquorice only under medical supervision. Potassium depletion caused by liquorice is especially hazardous for such patients. Anyone with pre-existing hypokalemia (low potassium) should not take liquorice.
  • People with kidney disease, especially the elderly, may be at increased risk of side effects.
  • Gallbladder disease and cirrhosis are considered contraindications for liquorice.

Generally these cautions are related to doses of over 6g a day, (although there are always a very small minority of individuals who react to any herbal product untypically, so in extremely rare cases even doses 1g a day may cause some of the listed side effects). Gerald Green, in his extensive experience of prescribing liquorice for his auto-immune patients has found that one gram a day is normally sufficient to accomplish its beneficial effects, the exception being in the Asthma and Bronchitis formula, where 3 grams a day is consumed if the tea is taken at the maximum of 4 doses a day.

 

The side effects that occur are related to the fact that Liquorice helps to conserve sodium in the body. Personally I have found that I need to take less salt while I am using liquorice, as previously I lost too much via urine. (This is regulated by the adrenal glands and hypothalamus). When not taking liquorice, I had to take 2 to 4 teaspoons a day of sea water concentrate (Ionic liquid minerals and trace elements) to keep my system in balance, most obviously to prevent depression). For many people this is beneficial, including most sufferers of chronic fatigue. Liquorice can be especially helpful for M.E/chronic fatigue sufferers, via its beneficial effect on the adrenal glands and of course its immuno-modulatory effects) and most asthma sufferers. This aspect of sodium conservation by liquorice can lead to increase in blood pressure, and fluid retention via a disturbance in the sodium to potassium ratios. Gerald Green advises persons with very high blood pressure (pathological hyper-tension) to avoid liquorice, but moderate high blood pressure is not normally a problem, but obviously if persons with moderately high blood pressure do take even 1 to 3 grams a day of liquorice root powder (dried liquorice root), they should monitor their blood pressure. Other authorities have said that liquorice should be avoided if one has: hypokalemia edema, cirrhosis of the liver and cholestatic liver disorder.

  

More experience has been accumulated in the clinical use of liquorice. Recognized side effects of prolonged use of liquorice can include hypertension, water retention, sodium retention and loss of potassium. Therefore, the German health authorities warn that liquorice should not be used for more than four to six weeks in therapeutic doses, without medical advice. During this period of time, a diet rich in potassium is recommended. The potassium loss can also produce interactions with other drugs. The water loss-producing effects of conventional thiazide diuretics can be increased. In addition, if the individual is on digitalis glycoside heart medications (derived from foxglove), the potassium loss can actually increase the effect of the digitalis glycoside drugs by up to 50%. Since the toxic and effective doses of digitalis glycosides are in close balance, physicians should be aware of this potential drug interaction.  About 20 percent of patients treated with liquorice in the 1950s (presumably at relatively high doses) experienced side effects such as water retention, upper abdominal pain, headache, shortness of breath, and stiffness. At first scientists thought this was an allergic reaction. Treatment with antihistamines brought no relief. The symptoms usually disappeared when the dose was reduced, though sometimes it was necessary to stop liquorice use all together. Similar symptoms have been reported from ingestion of large amounts of liquorice-containing candy, as well as by users of tobacco products flavoured with liquorice.

  

To re-iterate, side effects are very rare if the dose is kept below 6g daily, and liquorice has been used extensively throughout history in foods, and herbal remedies, and being extremely beneficial for the vast majority of persons taking it, one need to keep a balanced view concerning the safety issues

  

Auto-immune diseases include, but are not confined to; Osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, also the rarer forms of arthritis e.g. Reiter’s, Behcet’s and Sjogrens syndromes, ankylosing spondylitis, psoratic arthritis, (for all the arthritis diseases Boron has been found to be very effective therapy; see the article The Wonder of Boron), various types of back pain that may be related to an arthritic process, migraine and cluster headaches, carpel tunnel syndrome, Fibromyalgia, M.E. (Chronic Fatigue syndrome) lupus, painful jaw syndrome, neuralgia, back and foot pain of undetermined origin, silicone breast disease, Crohn’s disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, psoriasis, Scleroderma, macular degeneration, hypertension, sciatica, diabetes, prostrate inflammation, emphysema, cystitis especially interstitial cystitis Reynard’s disease. Many other chronic health disorders are increasingly being recognized as having an auto-immune component, including diseases traditionally recognized as ‘degenerative’ such as Alzheimer’s and circulatory disorders

  

Aspects

 

If we look at use of liquorice from a western perspective, we see that its use has changed little over 3,000 years. It is considered demulcent (soothing to irritated membranes), expectorant (loosening and helping to expel congestion in the upper respiratory tract), and stimulates mucous secretions of the trachea. Other well-documented activities include significant anti-inflammatory effects, a protectant effect on the liver against toxic substances and antiallergic activity. Studies have shown that glycyrrhizin stimulates the excretion of hormones by the adrenal cortex.

  

Personally I have found liquorice to be more effective and totally harmless in its ability to help the body produce the correct type and amount of natural steroids, whereas drug based steroids, in my experience are less effective and will in time seriously disrupt the body’s homeostasis and render it susceptible to Candida Albicans infection and other health problems. Glycyrrhizin has a similar chemical structure to corticosteroids released by the adrenals, and further studies have suggested that it could be used as an aid in helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms from dependency on some corticosteroid hormones. Glycyrrhizin has also shown estrogenic activity in laboratory animals, and is experimentally anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and antibacterial. In China, liquorice root is used as an antacid.

 

Liquorice Uses

  

One of the better known folk uses of liquorice in Europe has been in the treatment of gastric ulcers. Also gastric distress, acidity etc are often quickly relieved. Based on this historical use in European herbal medicine, liquorice has been widely used as a treatment for gastric ulcers. Modern use began in 1946, when a Dutch physician, F. E. Revers demonstrated that liquorice was the active ingredient in a domestic medicine used in the Netherlands, then reported good results obtained in the treatment of stomach ulcers in 32 patients. In the 1950s new research showed that liquorice-derived compounds can raise the concentration of prostaglandins in the digestive system that promote mucous secretion from the stomach, as well as produce new cells in the stomach lining. It was also shown that liquorice prolongs the life span of surface cells in the stomach and has an antipepsin effect. The combined effect leads to the healing of ulcers. If you suffer from stomach ulcers the recommended formula our Digestive Disorders Tincture which contains Liquorice, Golden Seal and Slippery Elm

 

Powdered liquorice is also considered by Ayurvedic medicine as an excellent remedy for hyperacidity, and clinical tests prove that it is good for relieving pain, discomfort and other symptoms caused by acid matter in the stomach. It removes the irritating effects of acids in a better way than alkalis.

 

In Europe, the primary medicinal use of liquorice is to treat coughs, colds, and other respiratory infections. Glycyrrhizinic acid seems to stop the growth of many bacteria and of viruses such as influenza A. It also stimulates the production of interferon. We find it particularly effective as part of a natural treatment for lung problems, and infections that affect the lungs, and as previously mentioned asthma and bronchitis. Chinese researchers agree that liquorice is effective against cough and soothes the inflamed tissues of a sore throat. In fact, ancient Chinese texts summarize the uses of liquorice rather well: "improve the tone of the 'middle Jiao' [digestive system] and replenish Qi, to remove 'heat' and toxic substance, to moisturize the lungs and arrest coughing, and to relieve spasms and pain." Modern practitioners use different terminology, but the therapeutic benefits are quite similar.

 

Liquorice Root has been used as a laxative; to adjust blood sugar, reduce pain from ulcer and arthritis. Liquorice is used to treat ulcerative colitis in China.

   

In Japan, physicians use liquorice to treat chronic hepatitis B. (Milk Thistle is also suggested for hepatitis). Glycyrrhizin interferes with hepatitis B surface antigen and is synergistic with interferon against hepatitis A virus. It is also used at times to treat hepatitis C. Researchers have also demonstrated that liquorice helps protect the liver from damage due to chemotherapy. At low doses, the herb stimulates the liver to manufacture cholesterol and excrete it in bile. This can help lower serum cholesterol levels.

 

Physicians in China may prescribe liquorice alone or with cortisol to treat mild cases of Addison's disease, in which the body produces too little of this hormone. In China, liquorice is considered a powerful antitoxin and is used as an aid in the treatment of pesticide poisoning. It may also curb Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. (Wormwood is also indicated for Malaria).

 

Glycyrrhizin also has some antioxidant properties. Liquorice has been used to ease symptoms of menopause. In one study, liquorice attached to oestrogen receptors. It did not, however, promote the growth of uterine cells as oestrogen does, and it is not frequently used for this purpose in the United States. Another adaptogenic effect from liquorice involves oestrogen. Liquorice shows mild estrogenic properties similar to other phytoestrogens. It has the ability to promote oestrogen production and to interfere with the effects of too much oestrogen, especially from external sources. The flavonoid constituents are thought to be responsible for the oestrogen-like effects, while glycyrrhetinic acid antagonizes oestrogen where there is over-stimulation of oestrogen receptors in the body. All this makes liquorice useful in controlling the menstrual cycle and in relieving PMS and menopausal symptoms.

 

Besides treating ulcers along the digestive tract, including the mouth, liquorice may be used for viral infections like a cold, inflammation as in arthritis, menstrual and menopause disorders, herpes, eczema and psoriasis, allergic disorders, asthma, chronic fatigue, depression due to hormonal imbalance, emphysema, and hypoglycaemia.

 

Ayurveda recommends liquorice as an effective expectorant, helping to liquefy mucus and facilitate its discharge from the body

 

Disclaimer: Regenerative Nutrition advocates a holistic approach to natural health and wellbeing. The body's ability and power to heal depends upon the totality of diet, nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors. The information provided in our article is for information purposes only, it in no way constitutes a medical consultation, or medical advice, nor is it intended to be taken as a solicitation to purchase our products.

Always consult a health care practitioner when combating disease states.

No claim for the cure of any disease is intended, or implied nor do we claim that our products will treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 

Thousands of pages...
...here at your fingertips

 
Tax-Free Shopping
Worldwide Delivery Included in the Price
Mobile / Tablet users may prefer our mobile optimised website | Privacy and Cookies Policy

Disclaimer: Regenerative Nutrition advocates a holistic approach to natural health and wellbeing. The body's ability and power to heal depends upon the totality of diet, nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors. The information provided in our article is for information purposes only, it in no way constitutes a medical consultation, or medical advice, nor is it intended to be taken as a solicitation to purchase our products.

Always consult a health care practitioner when combating disease states.

No claim for the cure of any disease is intended, or implied nor do we claim that our products will treat, cure or prevent any disease.