Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Licorice Root: Healer or Harmer?

Licorice Root is a very powerful herb. It's ability to heal illness has been well documented in almost 200 clinical trials. Although it's commonly used to treat everyday ailments, licorice root has also been found to help major illnesses like cancer and HIV. Most studies show that it heals better than the pharmaceutical drugs because in most cases, it only affects what it's treating. For example: Chemotherapy kills everything in it's path. But the polyphenols in licorice root have the ability to kill cancer cells without having any negative affect on the bodies healthy cells.

But power isn't always a good thing. Licorice root has just as much ability to harm as it does to heal. Glycyrrhizin is the active compound responsible for a lot of the healing abilities in licorice root. But ingesting too much of it can cause major health problems ranging from fatigue to death. Here are almost 200 documented cases of death and other adverse affects of licorice root.

Because glycyrrhizin is the only compound in licorice root that causes these side effects, doctors figured out how to remove it. DGL, short for deglycyrrhizinated licorice, can be used without fear of causing additional health problems. But it won't treat as many ailments as whole licorice root. For instance, DGL is almost useless in treating hepatitis, herpes, arthritis, fibromylagia and asthma because they all require the anti-inflammatory properties from the glycyrrihizin. In those cases, ingesting less than 500 mg of glycyrrihizin a day lessens the chance of unwanted side effects.

In conclusion, as long as you're careful about the amount and type you use, licorice root will be a powerful and effective healer.

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