How To Harmonize Your Health With Licorice Root

Pacific Herbs uses highest quality licorice in its formulasWe have all heard of licorice, but what it is used FOR, is a bit of a mystery. Licorice is used in nearly every Chinese herbal formula (and there are thousands) because it is known to “harmonize the formula”.

Well, what the heck does that mean?  Because licorice root can ameliorate the blood (make it better by kick starting your blood and energy), it facilitates the gastrointestinal tract’s absorption process of the herbs in the formula.  Researchers have been studying this process for years, and although scientists do not completely understand the “how” of why licorice does what it does, it is known that it does work.

Licorice root “harmonizes” herbal formulas by helping your GI tract.  Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root has been used to treat stomach ulcers, it has antioxidant qualities (the root contains flavonoids), contains amino acids that help build healthy cells and muscles, and treats upper respiratory infections, viral infections and a sore throat. Amazingly, it is classified as an adaptogen, and helps the body deal with stress! What a versatile chinese herb!

It is important to know that it’s better to use the whole herb rather than chemicals isolated from the herb because all the components of the herb together produce the desired effect. Once again, we get back to “harmony”.

All Pacific Herbs products are produced using the gold standard of pharmaceutical grade processing to ensure the most potent formulation, then stored in convenient packets that are air, water and light tight. This unique packaging keeps the all-natural compounds in our Herb Packet vital for an unprecedented 4-year shelf life while offering the convenience of a highly portable, pocket-sized pack that can be taken anywhere. The herbal ingredients are tasty and available in a powder that can be dissolved in your mouth or in hot or cold water.

Additionally, Pacific Herbs products are the most potent on the market, using the highest quality Chinese herbs available that are both safe and effective. Our manufacturing facility has state-of-the-art equipment to cook, dry and package botanicals. All Pacific Herbs Chinese herbal products are extensively tested for pesticides and other contaminants. Pacific Herbs Packets are stamped with a lot number traceable to a Certificate of Analysis (COA) of testing date. Manufacturing is under strict Current Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) and International Standards Organization (ISO) standards.

 

References: [1] Effect of licorice on the reduction of body fat mass in healthy subjects. Armanini D, De Palo CB, Mattarello MJ, Spinella P, Zaccaria M, Ermolao A, Palermo M, Fiore C, Sartorato P, Francini-Pesenti F, Karbowiak I. J Endocrinol Invest. 2003 Jul;26(7):646-50. [2] Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active principle of licorice, can reduce the thickness of subcutaneous thigh fat through topical application. Armanini D, Nacamulli D, Francini-Pesenti F, Battagin G, Ragazzi E, Fiore C. Steroids. 2005 Jul;70(8):538-42. Epub 2005 Apr 12. [3] The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. Saeedi M, Morteza-Semnani K, Ghoreishi MR. J Dermatolog Treat. 2003 Sep;14(3):153-7. [4] The efficacy of licorice root extract in decreasing transaminase activities in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Hajiaghamohammadi AA, Ziaee A, Samimi R. Phytother Res. 2012 Sep;26(9):1381-4. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3728. Epub 2012 Feb 6. Other Sources: Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, second edition, ed, Paul M. Coates, 2005, Marcel Dekker, New York, pp. 479 – 486.

The Chinese Herb Licorice Root For Cavities & Gum Disease

Chinese herbs for cavitiesOne of the most commonly used Chinese herbs is licorice root and Web MD recently mentioned how licorice root can help prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease.

According to a new study in the Journal of Natural Products, licorice root may help keep teeth healthy.  But you won’t find the beneficial ingredients in licorice candy.  Licorice candy is mostly sugar and in the U.S. often flavored with anise oil.

The herb licorice root is in nearly every herbal formulations in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  The main reason for its popularity is its sweet flavor and its remarkable ability to guide other herbs to all 12 channels in the body.   This might sound a little odd, but if you’ve ever dug up a small licorice plant you can see the roots tend to go in all directions.  It is an interesting quality about this herb, because many herb roots don’t travel outwardly, they simple grow down. But the licorice plant has roots that are born to run.   

I was once digging up a small 5 foot tall licorice that has meandered into the wrong garden space.   As we followed the roots to clean up the space, they went 10-15 feet in several different directions. This Chinese herb seems to act the same way in the body and this is often why a very small amount, usually 3%- 6%  of Traditional Chinese herb formulas often contain licorice. (Also known as Gan Cao.)  Gan Cao helps other herbs in a formula travel to all 12 channels in the body.  This is a very rare quality, there are only a few herbs with the ability to travel to all areas of the body.

I consider it an added bonus that licorice prevents tooth decay.  A very small amount of licorice  (3%) is found in our iSleep Herb Pack.  It has traditionally been part of the 800 year old formula that iSleep is based upon.  No reason to change something that 800 years of use has already proved successful.

The Active Ingredients

The two predominant compounds in licorice, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were found to be the most effective in inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. These and other compounds found in licorice root were also shown to prevent the growth of bacteria associated with periodontitis, an inflammatory disease that can destroy the bones, gums, and tissue that maintain teeth.

Warnings about the effects of licorice for those with high blood pressure need some explanation.  Studies on licorice root extract have shown a  dose of  60 grams or more per 100g formula had side effects.  However, this dose is at least 10X higher than the safe and recommended dosage used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Licorice has been used safely and effectively for thousand of years.  There is no documented historical use of licorice ever being used in Traditional Chinese Medicine at a dose of 60 grams in a 100g formula.  Like anything, if you abuse an herb, just like caffeine, or any drug, there can be serious side effects. It is always important to know the safe and correct dose of any medication.

P.S.   Licorice root raw slices have a lovely little flavor if you need something healthy to chew on during the day. All Chinese markets sell them because they are often thrown into soups or used for a cup of tea. A lovely Asian tradition that we now know also protects our teeth.

Licorice Root Chemicals Found To Help Brain and Alzheimer’s

Just another amazing plant compound that has been around a couple thousand years.  Now 21st century science is catching up.  Licorice root, a Chinese herb, is being studied at the University of South Carolina.  The researchers found an extract in this root can prevent brain cell death in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. 

We're not talking about licorice in the form of candy, you'll have to use the root of the licorice plant.  The specific plant the researchers are studying comes from the high mountains of China, where it grows like weeds, as do many Chinese herbs.

Apparently, it is the LQ or liquiritigenin in the licorice that mimics the hormone estrogen.  The researchers are growing brain cells and studying the effects of the LQ on them. Looking at microscopic views of the brain cells, healthy cells have lots of green dots.

"Those green spots are where the cells actually connect," Dr. Booze says. "And what happens in diseases  like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's  is that the neurons lose their connectivity. So we study the green dots of connectivity and use the phytoestrogens to increase the green dots."

Her research is the first ever done on LQ and the first to test some of these phytoestrogens in the brain.

"My long-term goal, my dream would be a prevention, but we're not there yet. Obviously we're still looking at the effects in our dishes," she says.