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Raw Licorice root / Gan Cao

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Product Code: CLS-11485

Chinese Single Herbs (Fluid Extracts)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Chinese Herbal Actions:

  • Tonifies the Spleen and Strengthens the Qi*
  • Moistens the Lung, Dispels Phlegm, and resolves Cough*
  • Clears Heat and Reduces Fire*
  • Harmonizes Formulas and Moderates Other herbs
    Used to lessen the harsh and toxic nature of other herbs, to protect the Middle Jiao, and enhance the overall effects of a formula.

    Mitigates the toxicity of Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Praeparata). Moderates the heat of Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis) and protects the Yin. Protects the Stomach from the Cold nature of Shi Gao (Gypsum Fibrosum) and Zhi Mu (Raidx Anemarrhenae). Reduces the intensity Da Huang's (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) and Mang Xiao's (Natrii Sulfas) purgative effects.

Reference Source:  http://www.sacredlotus.com/herbs/get.cfm/chinese_herb/gan_cao_licorice_root

 

 

Additional information:

 

Licorice / Glycyrrhiza glabra

Introduction

Licoriceis native to the Mediterranean, central to southern Russia, and Asia Minor to Iran, now widely cultivated throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.1  It is a perennial with aggressive laterally spreading roots and loose spikes of pale blue to violet pea flowers in summer.2  The root is the most commonly used plant part and can be harvested after 3 to 4 years of growth.1  

History and Cultural Significance

Dioscorides, a first century Greek physician, coined the species name which is derived from a combination of Greek words, glukos meaning sweet and riza meaning root.1  Modern research discovered that one of the main constituents of the root is glycyrrhizin (also known as glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhizinic acid) which is 50 times sweeter than sugar.1  The Romans changed glycyrrhiza to liquiritia which over the years evolved into licorice.3  

Until 1000 CE, licorice was mainly collected in the wild.1  Large scale cultivation did not occur until the late 1550s.2  Ancient Arabian cultures used licorice to treat coughs and relieve constipation.1  Theophrastus, an ancient Greek scientist, documented the use of licorice to assist with coughs and asthma. Since 25 CE, Chinese cultures have used the herb extensively to relieve cough and as an expectorant. It also has been used to relieve spasms of the stomach muscles. Licorice has a long history as a common remedy in Ayurvedic medicine for its expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and laxative properties.The German Commission E approved licorice root for inflammations of the upper respiratory tract and stomach ulcers.1  

Licorice root is sold in capsules, tablets, tinctures, and other dietary supplements for its traditional uses. It is used as a food flavoring in candy, cakes, ice cream and packaged desserts.3  Most of the candy sold in the US today as licorice is flavored with a synthetic licorice or anise.3  A large amount of imported natural licorice is used to flavor tobacco products.1  Licorice extracts are used in cough drops, syrups, laxatives, and nicotine lozenges.4  The root is also added to teas.

Modern Research

Licorice is one of the most extensively researched medicinal and food plants.1  Studies on licorice have demonstrated positive effects for treatment of various types of ulcers.5  Others showed that dietary consumption of licorice root extract may help to lower cholesterol and act as an antioxidant.5,6  

Future Outlook

The selection of the correct species of licorice for cultivation is a major concern.7  The replacement of species with seeds from species that are related is common in modern plant commerce. For example, large tracts of the world market of G. glabra root are actually G. uralensis.7  

Licorice, like many herbs that are produced commercially, is often grown in developing countries where labor is not as costly and chemicals are not used due to prohibitive cost. Thus the raw material from these countries is relatively inexpensive and free of synthetic chemicals.8  In more developed countries, licorice is sometimes grown in fields that have been treated with herbicides which would not be acceptable for those only wanting to use organically grown herbs.9  

As seed germination and seedling growth are slow, commercial propagation of licorice by cuttings from the roots (stolons) is preferable.10  This allows for quicker growth and a crop that is ready for harvesting in 3-4 years. Small plantings are being established in Australia10  and New Zealand9  but accurate information of the commercial potential of these crops is not yet available.

References

1  Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.

2  Bown D. The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses. New York: DK Publishing, Inc.; 2001.

3  Onstad D. Whole Foods Companion. White River Junction, VA: Chelsea Green Publishing Co.; 1996.

4  Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley and Sons; 1996.

5  Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, editors. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.

6  Fuhrman B, et al. Antiatherosclerotic Effects of Licorice Extract Supplementation on Hypercholesterolemic Patients: Increased Resistance of LDL to Atherogenic Modifications, Reduced Plasma Lipid levels, and Decreased Systolic Blood Pressure. Nutrition. 2002:18;268-273.

7  Schmidt M, Thomsen M, Betti G. WHO Releases “Guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices” of Herbs. HerbalGram. 2005;65:22-24.

8  Division of Markets: Entrepreneurial Catalog. Licorice. Available at: http:www.ag.state.co.us/mkt/entrepreneurial%20catalog/crops.html. Accessed March 12, 2005.

9  Growing Licorice. New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Ltd. Available at: http://www.crop.cri.nz/home/products-services/publications/broadsheets/121-Licorice.pdf. Accessed March 12, 2005.

10  Shipard I. Licorice: an absolutely delicious crop. The Australian New Crops Newsletter. July 1996

 

 

Additional information:

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Glycyrrhiza
Species: glabra
Common Names: Licorice, Gan Cao, Iriqsus, Kan T'Sao, Kan Ts'Ao, Liquirita, Madhuka, Meyankoku, Mi Ts'Ao, Regaliz, Sus Maikik
Part Used: Root, Whole herb

 

PLANT DESCRIPTION
Documented Properties
& Actions:
Anodyne, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, Demulcent, Depurative, Diuretic, Emollient, Estrogenic, Expectorant, Pectoral
Plant
Chemicals
Include:
Acetic-acid, Acetoin ,Acetol, Acetophenone, Alpha-terpineol Aluminum, Anethole, Apigenin, Ascorbic-acid, Asparagine, Benzaldehyde, Benzoic-acid, Benzyl-alcohol, Beta-sitosterol, Butan-1-ol-2-one, Butan-1-ol-3-one, Butane-2,3-diol, Butanoic-acid, Butylphthalate, Butyric-anhydride, Calcium, Camphor, Caproic-acid, Carvacrol, Choline, Chromium, Cobalt, Cumic-alcohol, Decane, Decanoic-acid, Difurfuryl-ether, Dihydro-5,5-dimethyl-2(3h)-furanone, Dimethyl-phenylethyl-alcohol, Docosane, Dodecane, Dodecanoic-acid, Eicosane, EO, Estragole, Estriol, Ethyl-linoleate, Ethyl- linolenate, Ethyl-palmitate, Ethyl-phenol ,Ethyl-phenylacetate, Eugenol, Fenchone Formononetin, Fructose, Furfural, Furfuryl-acetate, Furfuryl-alcohol, Furfuryl-butyrate, Furfuryl-formate,F urfuryl-propionate, Furyl-methyl-ketone, Gamma-butyrolactone, Gamma-heptalactone,G amma-hexalactone, Gamma-nonalactone, Gamma- octalactone, Geraniol, Glabrene, Glabric-acid, Glabridin, Glabrol, Glabrolide, Glabrone, Glucose, Glycocoumarin, Glycyrin, Glycyrol, Glycyrram, Glycyrrhetic-acid, Glycyrrhetinic-acid, Glycyrrhetol,G lycyrrhisoflavanone, Glycyrrhisoflavone, Glycyrrhizic-acid, Glycyrrhizin, Glyzaglabrin, Glyzarin, Guaiaco, Hederasaponin-c, Henicosane, Heptadecane ,Heptane-1,2-diol, Heptanoic-acid, Heranol, Herniarin, Hex-trans-3-en-ol, Hexadecane, Hexadecanoic-acid, Hexadecyl-acetate, Hexan-1-ol, Hexanoic-acid, Hexanol, Hexyl-formate, Hispaglabridin-a ,Hispaglabridin-b, Indole, Iron, Isobutyladipate, Isoglabrolide, soglycyrol, Isoliquiritin, Isomucronulatol, Isoneoliquiritin, Isoschaftoside, Isoviolanthin, Kumatakenin, Lavandolol, Licochalcone-a, Licochalcone-b, Licoflavonol, Licoisoflavanone, Licoisoflavones, Licoric-acid, Licuraside, Licuroside, Lignin, Linalool, Linalool-oxides, Liqcoumarin, Liquirazide, Liquiritic-acid, Liquiritigenin, Liquoric-acid, Magnesium, Maltose, Manganese, Methyl-ethyl-ketone, Methyl-hexa-decanoate, Methyl-hexanoate, Myrtenal, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, N-nonacosane, N- tetradecane, Neoliquiritin, Neosoliquiritin, Nonadecane, Nonanoic-acid, O-acetyl-salicylic-acid, O-cresol, O-methoxy-phenol, O-tolunitrile, Octacosan-1-ol, Octadecane, Octanoic-acid, P-cymenol, P-methoxy-phenol, Palmitic-acid, Pentadecane, Pentadecanoic-acid Pentan-1-ol, Pentanoic-acid, Phaseollinisoflavan, Phenethyl-alcohol, Phenol, Phenyl-acetaldehyde, Phenylpropionic-acid, Phosphorus, Propionic-acid, Pyrazole, Rhamnoisoliquiritin, Rhamno-liquiritin, Salicylic-acid, Schaftoside, Silicon, Stigmasterol, Sucrose, Sugar, Terpin-1-en-4-ol, Tetracosan-1-ol, Tetracosane, Tetradecanoic-acid, Tetramethyl-pyrazine, Thiamin, Thujone, Thymol, Tiglaldehyde, Tin, Tricosane, Tridecane, Tridecanoic-acid, Trimethyl-pyrazine, Umbelliferone, Undecane, Undecanoic-acid, Zinc


Quoted References

2. "Licorice is very sweet and contains glycyrrhizic acid which is fifty times sweeter than sugar. It helps support the adrenal glands and stimulate the excretion of hormones from the adrenal cortex. It has also been shown to have estrogen activity in animal studies and may be used to stabilize the menstrual cycle when coming off of "the Pill." It is excellent for the lungs and spleen. It has been used for coughs, sore throat, asthma, stomach and duodenal ulcers, hepatitis, hysteria and food poisoning. It is also known to be a good antioxidant."

4."Medicinal Action and Uses: The action of Liquorice is demulcent, moderately pectoral and emollient. It is a popular and well-known remedy for coughs, consumption, and chest complaints generally most notably bronchitis, and is an ingredients in almost all popular cough medicines on account of its valuable soothing properties."

5. "Beneficial for hypoglycemia, bronchitis, colitis, diverticulosis, gastritis, stress, colds, nausea, and inflammation. Cleanses the colon, promotes adrenal gland function, decreases muscle or skeletal spasms, and increases the fluidity of mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes. Has estrogen-like hormone effects; changes the voice. Studies show licorice root stimulates the production of interferon. Warning: Do not use if you have high blood pressure."

6. "The root contains glycrrhizin, 50 times sweeter than sucrose, which encourages the production of hormones such as hydrocortisone. This helps to explain its anti-inflammatory action and also its role in stimulating the adrenal cortex after steroid therapy. The root can help heal gastric ulceration and is also a potent expectorant. Actions: Anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, tonic stimulant for adrenal cortex, lowers blood cholesterol, soothes gastric mucous membranes, possibly anti-allergenic, cooling, expectorant."

7. "Liquorice is one of a group of plants that have a marked effect upon the endocrine system. The glycosides present have a structure that is similar to the natural steroids of the body. They explain the beneficial action that liquorice has in the treatment of adrenal gland problems such as Addison's disease. It has a wide usage in bronchial problems such as catarrh, bronchitis and coughs in general."

9. "Botanical name: Glycyrrhiza uralensis.
Pharmaceutical name: Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis
Properties: sweet, neutral (raw); sweet, warm (toasted).
Channels entered: All 12 Primary Channels (principally the Spleen and Lung)
Functions and clinical use: Tonifies the Spleen and benefits the Qi: commonly used for Deficient Spleen patterns, especially when toasted. Also used for Deficient Qi or Deficient Blood patterns with an irregular or intermittent pulse or palpitations. Moistens the Lungs and stops coughing: used for coughing and wheezing. As it is of a neutral nature, it can be used for either Heat or Cold in the Lungs. Clears Heat and detoxifies Fire Poison: used raw for carbuncles, sores, or sore throat arising from Fire Poison. For this purpose it can be taken internally or applied topically. Moderates and harmonizes the characteristics of other herbs: by virtue of its sweet, neutral and moderating characteristics, this herb moderates hot and cold herbs, and makes violent herbs more gentle. Because it is said to enter all twelve Primary Channels, it can lead and conduct other herbs into the Channels. Soothes spasms: used for painful spasms in the abdomen and legs. Also used as an antidote to a variety of toxic substances, both internally and topically.
Cautions and contraindications: Contraindicated in cases of Excess Dampness, nausea, or vomiting."

13. "The medicinal use of licorice in both Western and Eastern cultures dates back several thousand years. It was used primarily as a demulcent, expectorant, antitussive, and mild laxative. Its traditional use include the treatment of peptic ulcers, asthma, pharyngitis, malaria, abdominal pain, insomnia and infections. Licorice is known to exhibit many pharmacological actions, including estrogenic, aldosterone-like; anti-inflammatory (cortisol-like); antiallergic; antibacterial, antiviral; and anti-Trichomonas; antihepatotoxic; anticonvulsive; choleretic; anticancer; expectorant; and antitussive activities. Although much of the pharmacology focuses on glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid, remember that licorice has many other components, such as flavonoids, that may have significant pharmacological effect."

14. "Licorice can be recommended for just about everybody, for male and female alike, young and old, well or sick. It is the grand tonic of the world, in this author's opinion. For that reason, I recommend it as an important tonic in the maintenance of the musculoskeletal system. The amazing anti-inflammatory actions of licorice root extend to the entire surface area of the body, both outside and inside. Not only the skin, but the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract yield to the soothing and healing action of licorice root. The plant reinforces the body's ability to withstand attack from virtually any kind of pathogen, and should therefore be considered a tonic for the musculoskeletal system. If one is looking for a broad-spectrum tonic to protect, maintain health, and heal injuries, there is no herb better than licorice root."

ETHNOBOTANY: WORLDWIDE USES
China Alterative, Anodyne, Antidote, Boil, Burn, Cancer(Esophagus), Cancer(Uterus), Cough, Diuretic, Dyspnea, Expectorant, Fever, Rejuvenation, Sore, Thirst, Tonic
ElsewhereAddison's disease, Bactericide, Candidia, Catarrh, Cough, Demulcent, Deodorant Expectorant, Fungicide, Internulcer, Laxative, Masticatory, Pectoral, Pill, Scald, Sore, Tumor, Urogenital, Wound
EuropeTumor
JapanAntidote, Antispasmodic, Antitussive, Demulcent, Expectorant
TurkeyAlexiteric, Alterative, Demulcent, Depurative, Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant, Pectoral
U.S.Cancer
Additional Information
Suggested Use: Fluid Extract:
Dissolve 15-30 drops in un-chilled water or as directed by your health care provider.
Cautions / Contraindications: * Do not use with vomiting, nausea, or chest and abdominal distention/fullness due to Dampness.

* Do not use with high blood pressure or edema

Herb-Drug Interactions

* Corticosteroids: Glycyrrhizin, a compount in Gan Cao may prolong the biological half-life of the sytemic corticosteroids. 12, 25

* Digioxin: Potassium loss associated with Gan Cao may increase toxicity of cardiac glycosides such as Lanoxin 12, 26

Toxicity and Overdose

* Overdoses may cause symptoms such as higher blood pressure, edema, weakness or numbness of the extremities, dizziness, or headache.

* Gan Cao may also cause increase sodium retention and decrease potassium excretion.

* Gan Cao can be combined with Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis) and Fu Ling (Poria) to mitigate water and sodium retention.

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Herb Documents

Properties & Channels

Drug Interactions

Incompatible Herbs

Toxic or Endangered

Latin Name Notes



Gan Cao (Licorice Root)
Previous Herb in CategoryNext Herb in Category Herb 5 of 13 in Herbs that Tonify Qi

Neutral Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae)
Channels:
All 12 (Primarily the LU, HT, SP, ST)
Properties:
Sweet, Neutral
Latin:
Radix Glycyrrhizae
Chinese:
甘草
Tone Marks:
gān căo
Alt Names:
Guo Lao
Translation:
Sweet Herb, Sweet Grass
Actions

* Tonifies the Spleen and Strengthens the Qi
To improve the Spleen's function of transformation and transportation with symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, and loose stools.
* Moistens the Lung, Dispels Phlegm, and Stops Cough
For coughing and wheezing from various etiologies of Excess, Deficient, Heat or Cold conditions. Also used alone to treat Wei Syndrome (atrophy) of the Lung with chronic cough.
* Releases Cramps and Alleviates Pain
For cramping and pain of smooth muscle tissue, especially in the abdomen. For skeletal muscle cramps or spasms, this herb is usually combined with Bai Shao (Paeoniae Radix Alba).
* Clears Heat and Reduces Fire Toxins
The fresh herb is taken internal or applied topically for uncomplicated carbuncles, lesions, ulcers, and other sores distinguished by heat and toxins. Decoct and apply topically for Erysipelas or eczema with lesions and itching.
* Poison Antidote
Can mitigate the effects of various food, herb, drug, and chemical poisonings.
Use alone for for beef poisoning, with honey for drug poisoning, with Xing Ren (Semen Armeniacae Amarum) for lead poisoning, with Hu Shi (Talcum) for herbicide or pesticide poisoning. The herb can be used topically or internally.
* Harmonizes Formulas and Moderates Other herbs
Used to lessen the harsh and toxic nature of other herbs, to protect the Middle Jiao, regulate temperate, and enhance the overall effects of a formula.

Mitigates the toxicity of Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Praeparata). Moderates the heat of Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis) and protects the Yin. Protects the Stomach from the Cold nature of Shi Gao (Gypsum Fibrosum) and Zhi Mu (Raidx Anemarrhenae). Reduces the intensity Da Huang's (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) and Mang Xiao's (Natrii Sulfas) purgative effects.

Contraindications and Cautions

* Do not use with vomiting, nausea, or chest and abdominal distention/fullness due to Dampness.
* Do not use with high blood pressure or edema

Herb-Drug Interactions

* Corticosteroids: Glycyrrhizin, a compount in Gan Cao may prolong the biological half-life of the sytemic corticosteroids. 12, 25
* Digioxin: Potassium loss associated with Gan Cao may increase toxicity of cardiac glycosides such as Lanoxin 12, 26

Toxicity and Overdose

* Overdoses may cause symptoms such as higher blood pressure, edema, weakness or numbness of the extremities, dizziness, or headache.
* Gan Cao may also cause increase sodium retention and decrease potassium excretion.
* Gan Cao can be combined with Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis) and Fu Ling (Poria) to mitigate water and sodium retention.

Dosage

* 3-10 grams 12
* 1.5-9 grams 13
* Maximum of 15-30 grams for large doses

Notes

* Reduced sodium intake and a potassium supplement are recommended when taking Gan Cao in large doses or long term.


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