Licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a somewhat sweet flavor can be extracted.There are two main methods of making licorice extract, in both methods, the roots of the licorice plants are harvested and dried, and cleaned. In the first method, the licorice roots are grounded into powder, which can be used as is or mixed with water.
In the second more modern method, the roots are pulped, boiled, and the extract is concentrated by allowing the water to evaporate. The extract in dried form can be stored indefinitely.
The compound glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid), found in liquorice, has been proposed as being useful for different therapies. Glycyrrhizin has also demonstrated to be a very good antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and blood-pressure increasing agent. Liquorice has also demonstrated promising activity in one clinical trial, when applied topically, against atopic dermatitis. Additionally liquorice has also proven itself effective in treating hyperlipidaemia, and in treating inflammation-induced skin hyperpigmentation. Liquorice may also be useful in preventing neurodegenerative disorders and cavities. Anti-ulcer, laxative, anti-diabetic and expectorant properties of liquorice have been noted.
Liquorice is useful in conventional and naturopathic medicine for both mouth and peptic ulcers.