If you wanted to see liquorice root dug fresh from the soil, you would have to travel to Calabria in Southern Italy or perhaps Turkey, Iran, China, or even Pontefract in West Yorkshire, England. The liquorice plant, Glycyrrhiza Glabra, is a leafy shrub grown for its lengthy roots, which have an extended history of healing properties and a deliciously distinctive sweet taste.
A long history of healing, is it relevant today?
Liquorice root has become the go-to remedy if anyone in our family gets a cold, sore throat or cough. We have found, from twenty years of using it that it gives us great relief and comfort. Recently I was looking through an excellent book on herbal remedies called The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke PhD. in which he shares a long list of uses, (often combined with other medicinal plants).
Natural Liquorice uses:
chronic fatigue syndrome,
colds and flu,
It was the treatment of viral infections which most interested me, and I wondered if the use of liquorice root could be of help during the Coronavirus pandemic we are experiencing right now? What follows is the author’s advice re the antiviral effects of liquorice and how to consume it.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra). Among its many other medicinal uses, licorice is active against many types of viral infections. One of it’s eight active antiviral compounds, glycyrrhizin, inhibits a number of processes involved in virus replication, among them penetration of the body’s cells and replication of genetic material.
Dr Duke goes on to advise, quite simply,
You could try a tea made by adding a few teaspoons of chopped dried root per cup of boiling water; steep for about ten minutes.The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke PhD.
Rooted in science
If you’re getting a taste for this and want to study this subject in-depth, check-out ‘Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections, by the highly respected herbologist Stephen Harrod Buhner. I also came across a blog (COVID-19 Natural Prevention) by the esteemed doctor and herbologist Aviva Romm MD where she shares facts and inspiration.
The conclusion I came to is that liquorice’s history, over millennia as a potent anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral remedy remains extremely valuable. It is very soothing and healing for irritated tissue, not just the lungs but digestive tissue; it can be used on its own or along with other healing herbs to create effective remedies in your own home.
“Auntie Aviva’s cough syrup” a great recipe, though you do need some specialist herbs possibly not available at this time
How much liquorice is too much?
Can overeating liquorice be bad for you? The short answer is yes, possibly. A story hit the world media last year when an unfortunate, male, middle-aged individual died. The suggestion is, his daily consumption of black liquorice could have caused his untimely demise.
The NHS advise eating more than 60g of black liquorice a day for at least two weeks could lead to potentially serious health problems. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about already.
One of the many active compounds in liquorice is glycyrrhizin which, if consumed in large amounts over a consistent period, affects potassium levels and could result in serious illness. So the advice is to have a varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables every day and a sprinkling of liquorice along the way!