Drinking Licorice Root Tea Helps Your Body in These 8 Ways

Call it 'miracle tea' and you won't be wrong. Here's why.

licorice root tea health benefits

In this post, you’ll learn about the health benefits of Licorice root tea. Let’s get started right away.

What is Licorice Root Tea?

The ancient plant called licorice, from the family Leguminosae, Glycyrrhiza uralensis is a native in Europe and Asia.

For thousands of years, the licorice plant has been used to treat a handful of medical conditions. For example circulatory, liver, kidney, and lung diseases.

Other names for this plant are: liquorice, gan cao, gan zao, sweet root, or Chinese licorice. 

The licorice is sweet in flavor. It’s a popular sweetener in candies, herbal teas, and food and beverage products.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers sometimes use licorice for its flavor. It adds flavor to medicines like dried herb capsules or liquid extract. 

How to make Licorice Root Tea

Commercially, licorice root tea comes in teabags. If you have this, use it as how most teas. Prepare it by steeping the tea bag in hot water for a few minutes.

If you have the dried licorice root, this is how to prepare the tea:

  1. Prepare a cup of water in a cooking pot
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of licorice root into the pot and bring it to a boil
  3. Once the water reaches a boiling point, lower the heat, and have it simmered for another 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the tea to separate the roots and serve.

Note that licorice tea is naturally sweet. So, you won’t need to add any sweetening agents.

If you want to have some twist in your licorice tea, you can mix various flavors by adding a tablespoon of fresh ginger root or a few sticks of cinnamon while brewing the tea.

Let’s go ahead and look at the health benefits of Licorice root tea.

Health Benefits of Licorice Root Tea

Licorice roots have hundreds of compounds that mainly possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

Here are the benefits of licorice root:

1. Can help treat skin conditions

According to research, licorice is used as a herbal medicine for dermatitis, eczema, cysts, and pruritus. 

In an in vivo study, the licorice’s natural compounds prevent oxidative stress, which prevents the progression of inflammation or skin swelling.

Furthermore, another study review revealed that the licorice roots have bioactive compounds.

These compounds have skin-whitening effects and other medicinal properties. This helps to fight depigmentation, aging, and acne. 

2. May fight cancer

In a study review, the phytochemical constituents of licorice containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, are found to have protective effects against certain types of cancer

Studies show that the compounds in licorice extract can slow down or prevent cell growth in the skin and the development of breast or colorectal cancers.

3. Provide relief for upper respiratory conditions

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections refer to irritation and swelling of the upper airways such as the nose, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, and the large airways.

Symptoms of this condition generally includes coughing, with no proof of pneumonia. 

Since licorice root has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Research shows that it is an effective aid to upper respiratory conditions.

In a study, researchers enrolled hospitalized Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) patients.

These patients were particularly without acute bacterial infection. The patients who received licorice treatment got discharged sooner compared to the control group. 

In an animal study, licorice root can also help relieve asthma (with the addition of asthma treatment. However, a review suggests that this herbal medicine’s clinical studies are still needed to test its long-term effects. 

4. May treat peptic ulcers

One of the health benefits of licorice root tea is its impact on ulcers. Here’s why.

Peptic ulcers are also known as gastric ulcer or stomach ulcer. It is a condition where open sores form in the stomach lining or the upper part of the small intestine (duodenal ulcer).

This is an inflammation that is caused by the bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). 

According to a study, licorice root has the potential to treat peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori

In a double-blind study, researchers split 40 peptic ulcer patients into two groups. The first group was prescribed peptic ulcer medicines.

And the second group received almost the same regimen but with the replacement of licorice to other drugs.

One month later, their endoscopy results show that licorice shows a potential low-cost replacement treatment for peptic ulcers with little side effects. 

In an in vivo study, researchers found something fascinating. Turns out licorice is more effective than the standard peptic ulcer medicine (called omeprazole) in terms of providing protection against ulcers.

In a 2-week clinical trial, 120 adults consumed licorice extract, together with standard treatment for peptic ulcer.

The results showed that combination can significantly reduce the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

5. Anti-cavity property

According to recent studies, licorice has gained recognition in the world of dentistry.

Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial potentials have shown beneficial effects in oral care and oral diseases like dental caries, periodontitis, gingivitis, and oral cancer. 

The anti-cavity effect of licorice was tested in a 3-week study. The study enrolled 66 preschool-aged children.

These children received sugar-free lollipops containing 15 mg of licorice root two times per day during school days.

The results showed that the consumption of lollipops has significantly reduced the number of cavity-causing bacteria called Streptococcus mutans.

Another study shows that licorice as a mouthwash was also effective in reducing plaque accumulation and gingival inflammation.

6. May aid in weight loss

According to a meta-analysis study, licorice consumption has shown positive effects on the reduction of body weight and body mass index (BMI) the research subjects.

The downside, the use of licorice have increased their blood pressure. Hence, the study suggests that you should not take licorice if you are hypertensive.

7. May improve acid reflux and indigestion.

According to studies, licorice root relieves indigestion symptoms, such as acid reflux, upset stomach, and heartburn.

Licorice is considered an effective herbal remedy for heartburn. Licorice works by increasing the mucous coating of the esophageal lining. This will help resist the irritating effects of stomach acid. 

Licorice has shown positive results in improving indigestion in a 30-day study of 50 adults with indigestion after taking licorice. 

In another 2 years study, 58 patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases (GERD) received a daily use of licorice root. The results revealed that their symptoms have significantly reduced compared to using antacids.

8. May improve blood sugar levels.

In a 60-day in vivo study, the daily intake of licorice root extract has shown significant improvements in blood sugar levels and kidney health. 

However, this claim has to be confirmed in further clinical studies. 

Precautions for taking Licorice Root Tea

Before taking licorice, there are things that you have to bear in mind.

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) recommends that the standard dosage for licorice tea.

The dose is 1 to 5 grams of dried licorice root steeped in boiling water. It has to be taken up to 3x a day only. Also, it should not be taken for more than four to six weeks.

The better you seek the advice of your doctor before taking it for better results. Do not take licorice if you are pregnant. 

Licorice contains the substance glycyrrhizin. It may cause side effects such as:

  • arm and leg numbness
  • muscle pains
  • high blood pressure
  • hormonal problems
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • water retention
  • heart attacks

It may also have an interaction with hypertension medications, corticosteroids, and antidepressants.

Takeaway

Studies support that licorice roots have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

It has shown that it has a positive effect on treating skin conditions, cancer, Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs), ulcer, oral diseases, and certain gastrointestinal disorders.

Despite the medicinal effects of licorice root, there are precautions that you have to take because it may not be safe for everyone because of its possible side effects. 

(Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian)

Dorothy is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian and a candidate for a master's degree in Public Health (MPH) major in Public Health Nutrition. She has a passion for teaching to her university students about food, nutrition, and health. Dorothy is a coffee lover and she enjoys traveling, writing, cycling, running, cooking, baking, and cooking.