licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

What is licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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.

What brand names are available for licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)?

Glycyrrhiza glabra, Alcacuz, Sweet Root, Gan Zao, and many others

Is licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)?


What are the side effects of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)?

Side effects of licorice are tiredness, increased blood pressure, low blood potassium levels, irregular menstrual cycle, headache, decreased libido, increased blood pressure, and increased fluids in the body.

What is the dosage for licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)?

  • 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.

Which drugs or supplements interact with licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)?

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).

Licorice should be used with caution with blood pressure medications because large amounts of licorice can increase blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.


Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions See Slideshow

Is licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is not known whether licorice enters breast milk or safe for the newborn; however, it is best to avoid using licorice in mothers who are nursing.

What else should I know about licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)?

What preparations of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) are available?

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.

How should I keep licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) stored?

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


Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Alcacuz, Sweet Root, Gan Zao, and many others) is a root available in a variety of forms. There is no conclusive proof that licorice has medicinal purposes, licorice root may be used for heartburn. There is insufficient evidence licorice has medicinal benefits for any other condition. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to using any herbal supplement. Discuss any OTC or herbal products you are taking with your health care professional.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Prevention & Wellness


GERD is the back up of stomach acid into the esophagus. See Answer

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MedlinePlus. Licorice.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Licorice Root.