licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Alcacuz, Sweet Root, Gan Zao, and many others)

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GENERIC NAME: licorice

BRAND NAME: Glycyrrhiza glabra, Alcacuz, Sweet Root, Gan Zao, and many others

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Licorice is a plant used for flavoring food, beverages, and tobacco. The root issued as a natural, herbal supplement for medicinal purposes. Chemicals in licorice may reduce inflammation, thin mucus secretions, decrease cough, and increase the body's ability to heal ulcers. Check with your health care professional before using herbs or herbal supplements.

PRESCRIPTION: No

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Licorice roots are available as tablets, powder, and liquid formulations. Concentration of licorice may vary from product-to-product due to multiple manufacturers producing various products. Check the licorice product for the actual amount of licorice contained in the product. Often these products are supplemented with anise oil which has a similar smell and taste.

STORAGE: Due to multiple manufacturers making different forms of licorice, storage requirements may vary based on individual manufacturer practices.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Although no studies are available to support it's effectiveness for any condition; some patients may use licorice to treat heartburn, muscle cramps, stomach ulcers, weight loss, hepatitis, eczema, osteoarthritis , systemic lupus, and tuberculosis. Check with a doctor before using herbs or herbal supplements.

DOSING:

  • Upset stomach: A combination product containing licorice is used as 1 ml by mouth three times daily.
  • Ulcer: Take 760-1520 mg by mouth with meals for 8 to 16 weeks.
  • Cough: Take 0.5 to 1 gram of powdered root one to three times a day.
  • Root: Take 1 to 4 gram by mouth three times a day.
  • Tea: Prepare tea with 1 to 4 gram of root per 150 ml water; drink 1 cup up to three times a day.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Licorice should not be used with warfarin (Coumadin) because it can accelerate the breakdown of warfarin and decrease the effectiveness, leading to increased risk of clotting.

Licorice should be used with caution with digoxin (Lanoxin) because licorice can lower potassium levels in the body and low potassium can lead to increased digoxin side effects like dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, irregular heart rate and rhythm, and visual disturbances.

Licorice should be used with caution in women taking birth controls pills or other hormonal medications. Licorice may change hormone levels in the body and decrease effectiveness of estrogen containing medications like conjugated estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, and estradiol (Estrace).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2014



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