8 Soothing Health Benefits of Licorice Root Tea

benefits of licorice root tea

What are the benefits of drinking licorice root tea?

Are you here to discover more about the benefits of licorice root tea?

If the answer is yes, then read on.

Interestingly, licorice root may be one of the world’s earliest herbal remedies used in drinks and medicine. 

Licorice root has a long history of use in folk medicine to treat a variety of conditions since prehistoric times in Europe.

In fact, the perennial herb is well documented in written form, beginning with the ancient Greeks and dating back to 2300 BC. 

The botanical name of licorice root is Glycyrrhiza glabra (sweet root), and it is sometimes spelled liquorice. 

Its flavor is strikingly similar to anise (Pimpinella anisum)- both plants produce a somewhat sweet and slightly bitter flavor.

benefits of licorice root tea

The herb is originally native to Southern Europe and Western Asia. 

Today it is widely cultivated in North Africa, the Mediterranean region, and some parts of the United States

Besides being a herbal medicine for health conditions like peptic ulcers, the pungent flavor of licorice is also an effective mask for the taste of medicines. 

It commonly appears in products like syrups, elixirs, cough lozenges, candies, and even tobacco products.

Clinical trials suggest that licorice root extract can offer many potential health benefits like helping with stomach ulcers and an upset stomach

This article discusses the wide range of health benefits that you can expect from drinking licorice root tea. 

We will also discuss the side effects associated with this herbal tea.

What Is Licorice Root Tea?

Licorice root tea is a herbal remedy made from the roots of the licorice plant. 

This common home remedy is sometimes referred to as sweet root tea or licorice tea. 

Licorice boasts a sweetness, but it’s not ‘candy-like’ in the way most Americans assume. 

The tea has complex layers of flavors and a similar taste to black licorice. 

You will also notice undertones of anise oil and peppermint.

benefits of licorice root tea

Although it was primarily popular in Europe and Asia, early Egyptians prized licorice root for its bold, sweet flavor and potential health benefits. 

Liquorice tea is typically available in two forms, glycyrrhizin and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), depending on the plants’ strain and the production method. 

Licorice root tea is not a new discovery; it dates back to ancient Egypt, where the roots of licorice were prepared to form a sweet drink for the Pharaohs.

It was also drunk in traditional Chinese and the Middle east to treat inflammation and respiratory issues. 

Today, licorice root tea is hailed for its numerous health benefits. 

Ongoing scientific research continues to back up its potency to help with multiple conditions like sore throat and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Main Compounds In Licorice Root

Generally, the roots of the licorice plant contain hundreds of beneficial plant compounds.

However, the primary active compound in the root is glycyrrhizin. 

Glycyrrhizin is a plant glucose, and it is the chief sweet-tasting ingredient in liquorice root.

In fact, it is about 30-50 times as sweet as sucrose. 

The good news is that glycyrrhizin is not metabolized, meaning that it does not affect your glycemic index.

The compound is also responsible for the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities of licorice root. 

Traditionally, glycyrrhizin extract was used as a medicine to treat constipation and coughs.

Licorice root has a long history of use in folk medicine to treat a variety of conditions since prehistoric times in Europe.

On the downside, glycyrrhizin is also responsible for most of the adverse effects of licorice root. 

In light of this, many products contain deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), a form of licorice that has had a large amount of glycyrrhizin removed.

8 Health Benefits Of Licorice root Tea

1. Helps With Digestion

Drinking licorice root tea can boost your digestive health

It is a soothing herbal drink that has been used for thousands of years to help with many digestive issues

Licorice root tea can also help relieve the symptoms of indigestion like acid reflux, nausea and stomach upset. 

The antispasmodic effects of licorice root tea may also help alleviate symptoms like gas and bloating.

Preliminary research shows that this herbal tea can also offer numerous benefits to support healthy digestion. 

For instance, a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked into the impact of licorice root on indigestion and heartburn. 

The randomized, placebo-controlled study involved 54 human subjects. 

The researchers concluded that those who consumed licorice root extract pill two times per day experienced a dramatic improvement in their symptoms than those who took placebos.

A recent study published in the Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases examined gut health benefits of licorice root. 

The study researchers found that regular consumption of licorice root extract can help get rid of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes sores. 

Evidence concludes that the antibacterial effects of licorice root can effectively protect the gut from bacteria that cause infections.

2. May Remedy Skin Conditions

One of the most significant health benefits of licorice root is helping with multiple skin conditions. 

Some of the countless compounds in licorice root possess anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antibacterial effects. 

Notably, multiple animal and test-tube studies have confirmed that the potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of glycyrrhizin can help treat numerous skin conditions like acne and eczema.

Sixty participants applied topical gels for two weeks during a study

The gel contained licorice extract, and it was found to improve eczema effectively. 

Licorice products are often used to treat acne. 

However, research into its efficacy is still very limited.

3. May Help With Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are a disease that occurs when open sores develop on the stomach and esophagus lining or on the upper part of your small intestines. 

These ulcers occur when acids damage the lining of the digestive tract. 

The most common cause of peptic ulcer disease is H. Pylori bacteria which causes inflammation, and the less frequent cause is anti-inflammatory pain relievers like aspirin. 

Luckily, the glycyrrhizic acid in licorice root can potentially treat peptic ulcers sores.

Multiple studies have concluded that adding licorice root extract to your medication prescribed to treat H. pylori can help eliminate the bacteria effectively. 

It’s important, however, to note that more human studies are still needed in this area to determine the effectiveness of licorice root in treating peptic ulcers.

4. May Improve Oral Health

The antibacterial and antimicrobial activity of licorice root may be beneficial for your oral health

Laboratory studies show that licorice root can effectively fight the bacteria responsible for plaque build-up and tooth decay/cavities.

According to a small study in the Journal of Natural Products, licorice root tea possesses beneficial flavonoids and aromatic coumarins.

These can effectively fight the bacteria that cause bad breath and aphthous ulcers (canker sores).

5. Possesses Anticancer Properties

Licorice root is a herb that contains over 300 compounds. 

Some of these compounds have demonstrated potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

In light of this, researchers have examined the protective effects of licorice root against specific types of cancer.

The compounds in licorice extract have been found to slow and prevent abnormal cell growth in breast, skin, prostate, and colorectal cancers. 

A cup of licorice root tea also has the potential to treat oral mucositis. 

Oral mucositis is a very painful inflammation of the mucus membranes that lines the digestive tract, often as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

6. Can Fight Viral and Bacterial Infections

Licorice root is a rich source of antibacterial and anti-viral compounds. 

Infections are mainly caused by the bacteria and viruses that enter and multiply in the body, causing harm and illnesses like the common cold. 

Chronic viral infections can last for months or even a lifetime, while latent infections can remain dormant or inactive for months/years until they are reactivated.

Researchers studying traditonal Chinese medicine concluded that licorice root contains two main triterpenes (GL and GA) that have been linked to potent anti-viral effects on the body. 

These acids have inhibitory effects on viral activities. 

Licorice root also possesses flavonoids that have a potent effect against bacterial infections and can help treat the H. pylori mentioned above.

7. May Help treat the Common Cold

Are you having a sore throat, a strep throat, a cold, or a cough? 

Drinking licorice root tea may help alleviate these symptoms. 

Licorice root possesses beneficial compounds that can soothe the throat while remedying an itchy or scratchy throat. 

In addition, the antibacterial properties of licorice root extract can enhance your immune system’s activities, helping it get rid of bacteria that cause infections. 

A study examined the potency of licorice root in treating multiple ailments.

The study, published in the Egyptian Journal of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, involved participants with breathing tubes during the procedure. 

The participants experienced sore throat symptoms once the breathing tubes were removed.

 Patients who gargled with licorice root extract between 1-15 minutes before surgery reported a significant reduction in sore throat symptoms.

8. May Help Ease Menopausal Symptoms

Common menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes, etc. 

These symptoms can be very uncomfortable and sometimes even embarrassing.

A study involving 90 women going through menopause concluded that drinking licorice root tea can effectively reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms like hot flashes.

A placebo group in the same study had no effect.

Possible Side Effects Of Licorice Root Tea

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers licorice root tea safe for consumption.

But please note that currently, the FDA doesn’t evaluate or verify licorice root supplements for efficacy or purity. 

While short-term use of licorice root is generally considered safe, large doses and long-term use may cause some serious side effects.

Potential side effects include

  • Reduced levels of potassium. Low potassium levels can lead to high blood pressure, lethargy (low energy levels), irregular heartbeat, and other symptoms. 
  • Raised blood pressure. It’s a good thing to consult your doctor to determine how much licorice root is beneficial for your needs. 
  • Licorice root may not be safe for use by pregnant women as it contains glucocorticoids which can cause cognitive and psychiatric issues in young children. In addition, licorice has also been linked to premature births. 
  • Licorice has also been found to interact with specific medications like blood thinners, diuretics, and blood pressure medications.

How To Make Licorice Root Tea

Below is the simplest guide on how to make licorice root tea at home:

  • Add water into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil
  • Turn off the heat and add your loose leaf tea into the hot water. 
  • Allow it to steep for five to ten minutes, and strain the tea into your teacup. 
  • You can add a natural sweetener like honey to taste.

Benefits of licorice root tea - The bottom line

Licorice root tea is safe for daily consumption by healthy adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Though the tea helps with multiple health problems, there isn’t enough research into licorice root to scientifically quantify the claims.

 For this reason it’s a good idea that you do not go over the daily recommended dosage.