How Licorice Can Help Your Stomach Troubles

Licorice root and licorice root powder sitting on a wooden surface.

Licorice is a very beneficial herbal remedy that has been used throughout antiquity in both Western and Eastern countries. (Image: Mirzamlk via Dreamstime)

Licorice is a very beneficial herbal remedy that has been used throughout antiquity in both Western and Eastern countries. Today, it’s more known for its flavor in sweets, such as black licorice twists.

In the past, before pharmaceutical medicine existed, herbal medicine was used in the home to manage minor health concerns before they became too serious. Your own garden and the local herbal doctor provided a natural medicinal cabinet that could stave away most health problems. Licorice root is one herb that treats many problems.

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Licorice root in a wooden spoon.
Traditionally used in herbal medicine, licorice root is a powerful healer. (Image: via Pixabay)

Chinese liquorice, Gan Cao

In China, licorice root is one of the most popular herbs and can be thought of as a medicine cabinet in its own right, as it heals a very broad range of afflictions. This is because it travels down all 12 energy meridians. Its effects center around the lungs, heart, stomach, and spleen.

There is a story in the book Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine about a herbalist who went missing for over a month when giving house calls. His wife, who was concerned for his whereabouts, had the responsibility to oversee the herbalist’s patients who also needed treatment.

The herbalist’s wife decided to taste the herbs to figure out which ones she thought the patients would like.

She tasted sour, bitter, pungent, and salty herbs that were not pleasant at all. Finally, she tasted the licorice root, which was sweet and delicious. Liking the flavor very much, the herbalist’s wife gave this sweet concoction to all the patients with very good results.

When licorice root is taken with other medicinal herbs, it modifies them. It also buffers the body from harsh medicinal herbs and is used as a poison antidote.

Licorice root repairs your stomach

In recent times, licorice root has been recognized for its ability to help repair the stomach lining, support proper digestion, provide relief for stomach ulcers, and ease the effects of gastritis and heartburn.

This is due to compounds that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the stomach lining. It also helps your abdominal region by relieving cramping and tightness, as it is an anti-spasmodic herb that relaxes and smooths muscles around the abdominal area, which is also effective for menstrual cramps.

Whether you have a leaky gut caused by food sensitivities, ulcers, or gastritis, you want to increase the amount of mucosa to protect your stomach’s lining. Licorice root can do just that by raising the levels of prostaglandins to produce more mucus, and by promoting the growth of new cells in the stomach.

If your stomach issues are caused by emotional stress, licorice root can also help this on a deeper level, as it regulates cortisol levels and supports adrenal health.

In addition, the extract DGL has been found to fight bad bacteria in the gut, such as antibiotic-resistant H. pylori. Studies in Iran also name it as an effective agent against candida and staph.

Black licorice twists and licorice sticks.
Believe it or not, black licorice twists contain some extract of licorice and are good for stomach ulcers. (Image: Photopips via Dreamstime)

How to take it

Believe it or not, black licorice twists contain some extract of licorice and are good for stomach ulcers. Yet they are high in sugar, so you don’t want to eat them all the time.

Instead, try drinking licorice tea that mentions Glycyrrhiza glabra on the package. This is the plant from which genuine licorice is derived.

Health warnings will generally tell you to drink no more than two cups of this beverage a day and to avoid it altogether if you are pregnant or have hypertension. It is also recommended that you do not drink it continuously.

If you cannot stomach the flavor of licorice, see your local certified herbalist for advice on a range of herbal extracts that are safe for you.

The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources – and every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.

In all cases, your symptoms should be assessed individually by a health care professional to rule out other possible causes.

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