Licorice benefits are known to Indians since thousands of years. Its Sanskrit name is Yashtimadhu. It is one of the most commonly used Ayurvedic herbs. In almost every Indian household, you might find this herb chewed, whenever someone’s voice has gone down.
Botanical name – Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.
Family – Fabaceae
Habitat: This herb is cultivated in Himalayas.
Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms
English name: Licorice / Liquorice
Hindi name – Mulethi, Jethimadhu
Tamil and Telugu name – Atimadhuram, Irattimadhuram
Hindi name: Muleti, Jetimadhu
Kannada name: Atimadhura, Jeshtamadhu
Telugu name: Yashtimadhukam
Bengali name: Yashtimadhu
Marathi name: Jeshtimadh
Gujarati name: Jethimadh
Yashtimadhu – has sweet root and stem
Madhuka – sweet
Klitaka – Being imported into
Glycyrrhiza glabra medicinal qualities:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet)
Guna (Properties) – Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Unctuous)
Vipaka (Post digestion effect): Madhura (Sweet)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Action on Dosha
Vata-Pittahara (Pacifies the aggravated / morbid Vata and Pitta). Being heavy and unctuous and possessing sweet taste and post-digestion effect, which are antagonistic to Vata, Yashtimadhu pacifies (controls) it. Similarly Yashtimadhu pacifies the aggravated Pitta due to its sweet taste and post-digestion effect and also its cold potency.
Yastimadhu classical categorization
Charaka Samhita –
Jeevaneeya – herbs that promote longevity
Sandhaneeya – herbs that help in bone fracture healing and wound healing
Varnya – herbs that improve skin complexion
Kanthya – herbs that improve voice
Kandughna – Herbs that relieve itching sensation (pruritis)
Chardinigraha – Herbs that relieve vomiting
Shonitasthapana – Herbs that check bleeding
Mutravirajaneeya – Herbs that restore proper colour of urine
Snehopaga – herbs that are used in Snehana – a preparatory procedure before Panchakarma treatment
Vamanopaga – herbs that are used in Vamana (emesis) Panchakarma treatment
Asthapanopaga – herbs that are used in Basti Panchakarma treatment (rectal enema with decoctions)
Charaka has mentioned it as a plant source for oil. (Reference)
Sushruta Samhita – Kakolyadi, Sarivadi and Anjanadi group of herbs.
Vagbhata – – Sarvadi and Anjanadi group of herbs.
Licorice benefits as per Ayurveda
- Good for eye and eyesight / vision
- Provides good strength and immunity
- Enhances color and complexion
- Good aphrodisiac, increases the quantity and quality of semen
- Good hair tonic
- Excellent remedy for throat disorders, good for improving voice
- Heals ulcers, wounds and swelling / inflammation associated with wounds
- It neutralizes the bad effects of poisons and toxins. In Chinese medicine it was administered for treating food poisoning and its ill-effects
- Relieves thirst
- Relieves tiredness / exhaustion, provides energy
- Useful in relieving wasting disorders, degenerative diseases
- Good expectorant, expels phlegm from lungs, heals respiratory diseases
- Good for heart health, prevents damage from LDL cholesterol (Bad fat), Discourages clogging plaque formation which can damage heart
- Enhances immunity by boosting levels of interferon which is the key chemical of the immune system that fights off viruses (Research)
- Phyto-estrogens in Liquorice is said to have mild estrogenic effect and eases symptoms of Pre-menstrual syndrome like irritability, bloating, breast tenderness etc (Research)
- Has anti-allergic property and highly beneficial in allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, bronchial asthma (Research)
- Externally it has been effectively used in eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis
- Mild laxative
- It has powerful antioxidants, phyto-estrogens which are helpful during menopause
- It has antidepressant compounds and helps in warding off depression
- Good Brain Tonic
- Blood-purifier, Increases quality and quantity of blood, useful in bleeding disorder
- Relieves cough, chest congestion, sore-throat
- Relieves dysuria
- Promotes longevity of life
- Promotes fracture healing
Licorice for anti aging treatment:
As per Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 1.3, regular intake of 2 grams of licorice powder, along with half a cup of warm milk is explained as an excellent brain tonic and rejuvenator – Medhya Rasayana.
Liquorice is used in anti aging therapy since ancient times
Chakshushya – Good for eyes
Balakrut – Improves strength and immunity
Varnakrut – improves skin complexion
Shukrala – increases sperm count and semen quality
Keshya – good for hair. Improves hair quality. Hence it is used in many herbal hair oils.
Svarya – improves voice quality
How to apply Licorice on face?
Licorice if applied on face, can improve complexion, useful in acne, blemishes, acne scars, white heads and black heads.
If you have oily face, then make a paste of fine powder of licorice with water and apply it on face, leave it for 5 – 15 minutes, then wash off with hot water.
You can add red sandalwood powder – equal proportion to the above paste, to make it more effective.
If you have dry face –
Then mix 5 grams of licorice with 10-15 drops of kumkumadi taila. Apply it evenly as a face pack.
Leave it on face for 5 – 15 minutes, wash off with lukewarm water.
Do this once or twice a day.
Small licorice sticks of 2 – 3 cm length are chewed and the juice is swallowed slowly to relieve hoarseness of voice. Even singers use this for the purpose of improving singing voice.
Half a teaspoon of licorice is swallowed mixed with ghee or honey, for the same purpose.
Pittanilajit – Balances Vata and Pitta
Asrajit – detoxifies blood
Vranashothajit – useful in wound and inflammation
Vishahara – useful in poisoning
Chardihara – in small quantities, it relieves vomiting.
Trushnahara – relieves excessive thirst
Kshayahara – relieves emaciation and tiredness.
High blood pressure
A very high dose of 30 grams per day of licorice, for many weeks may cause increase in blood pressure. But usually, as per Ayurveda, its daily dose is note more than 3 grams per day.
Headache, shoulder, back pain
Paste prepared with licorice along with Tagara, dill seeds, Kushta, sandalwood and ghee is used to apply externally to relieve headache, shoulder and back pain. Reference: Charaka Samhita Rajayakshma Chikitsa.
Ayurvedic medicines with Glycyrrhiza glabra ingredient –
Yashtimadhu Phanta – a water infusion of licorice is used in Vamana Panchakarma procedure.
Ghee prepared with licorice – Yashtimadhu Ghrita is used extensively in treating peptic ulcers and gastritis.
Yashtimadhu oil – is used for nasya therapy (nasal instillation) and hair application to prevent baldness, greying and to reduce hair fall.
Because of its skin glow enhancing quality, it is an ingredient of the famous Kumkumadi Tailam
Licorice side effects
Licorice during pregnancy There are many reports suggesting that licorice taken during pregnancy may cause lower IQ in the child. It is also reported that licorice may cause preterm labour. Hence it is not advised to consume during pregnancy.
It is usually not prescribed in a patient with high BP and low potassium levels.
Liquorice in excessive dosage causes nausea and vomiting, increases Blood Pressure. It has variable degrees of intolerance and hence should not be used without medical advice or supervision.
Should be taken with caution by
- Women on birth control pills
- Patients with Blood Pressure
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
Anti obesity and anti-oxidant effect of Glycyrrhiza glabra:
As per the research conducted in Department of Natural Products, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, 12 flavonoids (1–12), isolated from Glycyrrhiza glabra roots were evaluated, in vitro for their pancreatic lipase (PL) inhibitory activity. Amongst all the compounds 7, 8, 10 and 11 showed strong inhibition against PL with IC50 values of 7.3 ?M, 35.5 ?M, 14.9 ?M and 37.6 ?M, respectively. Further, investigations were carried out to determine the anti obesity and lipid lowering effects of 7 and 10 in high fat diet fed male SD rats. The results indicate the potential of the chalcone scaffold as a source of PL inhibitors for preventing obesity.
After the child birth, the umbilical cord is cut. If there is suppuration in the umbilical area of the newborn, the area should be applied with an oil prepared with Lodhra (Symplocus racemosa), Yashtimadhu (Indian licorice), Devadaru (Cedrus deodara) and Haridra (turmeric). If the navel has already suppurated, the powder prepared from the same herbs mentioned above (in the preparation of oil) should be dusted.
Read related: Ayurvedic Care Of The Newborn Baby: Jatamatra Paricharya
Is it warm or is it a coolant?
It is a coolant.
Licorice with triphala
Under what circumstances Triphala can be administered with licorice?
Answer by Dr JV Hebbar
Triphala and licorice compliment each other very well. When they are used together, they fill the mutual void.
They are useful together,
a. To target common organs of both the herbs, more efficiently – eyes, hair, stomach, intestines, heart, cholesterol, anti aging rejuvenation.
b. To counter slightly hot net effect of triphala with coldness of yashtimadhu. c. Licorice is told as unctuous by Bhavaprakasha. Net effect of triphala is slightly drying, mainly due to astringent taste of Triphala.
d. Triphala is tridoshahara bor more targeted on kapha and Pitta. Licorice being sweet, brings in the vatahara effect to the equation.
e. Triphala with licorice is especially good for eyes. These two, along with Iron calx (Loha bhasma), honey and ghee are made into a medicine called Saptamrita lauha, which is used for the treatment of a variety of eye disorders.