The benefits and harms of licorice


Licorice is one of the perennial herbaceous plants that grow in the Mediterranean region, and one of the most famous drinks in Ramadan, a plant extract that has many health and aesthetic benefits, and it can be consumed in the form of a drink, or eating the roots of the plant itself.

Licorice contains more than 300 different compounds, such as vitamins E and B, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, fiber and natural compounds, such as: betacarotene, glycyrrhizin, phenol, thymol, quercetin and fragrant oils, some of which have antiviral and bactericidal properties.

The benefits of licorice:

Research has shown many benefits of licorice, including:

1. Improving the digestive system:

Licorice is useful for diseases of the digestive system, such as: poisoning, gastric ulcer, gastric acidity; due to its anti-inflammatory plant flavonoids, in a 30-day study of 50 adults, suffering from indigestion, their daily intake of licorice improved their symptoms.

2. Improve respiratory function:

The use of licorice is useful in the treatment of respiratory diseases; it works to expel phlegm and promote the health of the trachea.

3. Treatment of liver diseases:

Licorice helps eliminate toxins in the liver, contributes to supporting liver health and regulating its work, protecting it from free radical damage and triglycerides, by containing flavonoids and antioxidants.

4. Rheumatoid arthritis:

Licorice is useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; this is because it has anti-inflammatory properties, and also reduces the levels of cytokines that treat swelling.

5. Premenstrual symptoms in women:

Licorice calms uterine contractions during menstruation, because it is rich in isoflavones that help balance estrogen and progestin in the body.

6. Treatment of polycystic ovaries in women:

Licorice helps regulate the menstrual cycle, and treat ovarian cysts in women; this is because it works to produce the female hormone estrogen naturally, and contributes to preventing the excess secretion of the male hormone testosterone in women.

7. Lowering blood cholesterol levels:

Licorice contributes to lowering cholesterol levels in the blood, possesses antioxidant properties, which reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

8. Reduce stress:

The adrenal gland triggers the production of adrenaline and cortisol and their high levels in the body in case of stress, licorice regulates the work of the adrenal gland and stimulates it, which promotes the regularity of the healthy level of cortisol in the body, and then reduce the feeling of stress.

9. Fighting cancer:

Some research has linked licorice extract to slowing or preventing cell growth in skin, breast, colon and prostate cancers, due to its content of plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

10. Mouth ulcers:

Licorice helps to cure inflammation of the oral mucosa, mouth ulcers.

11. Slimming (weight loss):

Licorice is useful for slimming by increasing the feeling of satiety; because it contains a large percentage of dietary fiber, licorice root powder also contributes to enhancing the metabolism, necessary to improve burning levels in the body.

12. Other benefits:

Licorice helps reduce the symptoms of bleeding, cough, chronic fatigue syndrome, infection, infertility, tuberculosis.

Licorice damage:

Licorice is a double-edged sword, it has benefits, and it has harms in case of excessive intake, and one of its harms:

Excessive intake of licorice causes fluid retention, which damages the kidneys.

Licorice may cause a decrease in potassium levels in the body, by containing the compound glycyrrhizin, resulting in muscle weakness, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Consuming too much licorice may cause high blood pressure; therefore, it is not recommended to be consumed by hypertensive patients.

Excessive intake of licorice may cause miscarriage and premature birth in pregnant women.

Licorice cannot be consumed in case of heart disease; this is because it causes water to be stored, which leads to heart failure and irregular heartbeat.

The aesthetic benefits of licorice:

I discovered the aesthetic benefits of licorice for skin and hair, such as:

1. Skin lightening:

Licorice helps to lighten and whiten skin tone, get rid of pigmentation and dark spots; because it contains antioxidants and bleaching substances.

2. Moisturizing and nourishing the skin:

Licorice contributes to the hydration of the skin by containing antioxidants, in addition to essential nutrients, such as: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

3. Protection from sunlight:

Licorice is used in sunscreen lotions, lotions for the treatment of burns, resulting from sunlight.

4. Regeneration of epidermal cells:

Licorice helps to regenerate the skin and get rid of dead skin; because it contains acids that keep the skin supple and young, licorice also treats pimples and acne; because it contains antioxidants that work to remove dirt.

5. Anti-eczema:

A study conducted on 60 adults, in which licorice root gel was used, proved to test its effectiveness in the treatment of eczema, and the results of the study showed improvement in these adults within two weeks.

6. Stimulation of hair growth:

A study conducted in 2017, published in the pharmacological Journal of Applied Pharmacology, proved that licorice ethanol extract has an effect in increasing hair growth similar to the effect of the drug minucosidil.

In conclusion, “licorice is more than a delicious drink”:

Perhaps we are used to drinking licorice for one reason, which is its delicious taste, but after we got acquainted with its health and aesthetic benefits, we should have other motives for eating it, and be careful to make it an essential part of our diet.

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