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Since May 10th 2008

Initial G

Ginkgo biloba
Glycyrrhiza glabra
Gentiana lutea
Gentiana scabra
Guazuma ulmifolia



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Untitled Document Glycyrrhiza glabra (Fabaceae)

Liquiritae officinalis Moench

Local names
Adimaduram, akarmanis, asloosoos, aslussos, athimaduram, athimaduramu, athimathuram, bekh-e-mahak, bois doux, cha em thet, estamee, gancao, glycyrrhiza, herbe aux tanneurs, hsi-pan-ya-kan-tsao, irk al hiel, irk al hilou, irksos, jakyakgamcho-tang, jashtimadhu, jethimadh, jethimadha, kanpo, kanzo, an-ts’ao, kum cho, Lakritzenwurzel, licorice, licorice root, liquiritiae radix, liquorice, liquorice root, madhuyashti, madhuyashti rasayama, mulathee, muleti, mulhatti, neekhiyu, Persian licorice, racine de reglisse, racine douce, reglisse, reglisse officinalis, rhizoma glycyrrhizae, Russian licorice, Russian liquorice, Russisches Süssholz, si-pei, sinkiang licorice, Spanish licorice, Spanish liquorice, Spanisches Süssholz, Süssholzwurzel, sweet root, sweetwood, ud al sus, velmi, walmee, welmii, xi-bei, yashti, yashtimadhu, yashtimadhukam, yashtomadhu

A perennial plant, up to more than 1m in height, erect, with highly developed stoloniferous roots. Leaves compound, 9–17 alternate imparipinnate leaflets, oblong to elliptical-lanceolate, acute or obtuse; racemes loose, shorter than the leaves or a little longer. Flowers 1 cm long. Flat pods oblong to linear, 1–3cm long by 6 mm wide, more or less densely echinate glandular, many-seeded or abbreviated, 2- or 3-seeded

Plant material used
dried root and rhizome

Chemical assays
Assay for glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic acid, glycyrrhizinic acid) content (at least 4%) by means of spectrophotometric, thin-layer chromatographic– densitometric or high-performance liquid chromatographic methods

Major chemical constituents
The major constituents are triterpene saponins. Glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic acid, glycyrrhizinic acid) is the major component (2–9%); minor components occur in proportions that vary depending on the species and geographical location. Glycyrrhizin occurs as a mixture of potassium and calcium salts. It is a monodesmoside, which on hydrolysis releases two molecules of (enoxolone). Glycyrrhizin is generally regarded as the active principle of Radix Glycyrrhizae and is responsible for its sweetness, which is 50 times that of sucrose. Flavonoid constituents include liquiritigenin and isoliquiritigenin.

Dosage forms
Crude plant material, dried extract and liquid extract. Store in a well-closed container, protected from light and moisture.

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
As a demulcent in the treatment of sore throats, and as an expectorant in the treatment of coughs and bronchial catarrh. Also in the prophylaxis and treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and dyspepsia. As an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of allergic reactions, rheumatism and arthritis, to prevent liver toxicity, and to treat tuberculosis and adrenocorticoid insufficiency.

Uses described in traditional medicine
As a laxative, emmenagogue, contraceptive, galactagogue, antiasthmatic drug, and antiviral agent. In the treatment of dental caries, kidney stones, heart disease, “consumption”, epilepsy, loss of appetite, appendicitis, dizziness, tetanus, diphtheria, snake bite, and haemorrhoids

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Demukcent, Antiulcer, Antispasmodic, Hepatoprotectant, Anti-inflammatory, Antiallergy, Antibacterial

Human studies

Radix Glycyrrhizae is contraindicated in patients with hypertension, cholestatic disorders or cirrhosis of the liver, hypokalaemia, or chronic renal insufficiency, and during pregnancy.

Prolonged use of large doses (>50g/day) of the drug for extended periods (>6 weeks) may increase water accumulation, causing swelling of the hands and feet. Sodium excretion is reduced and potassium excretion is increased. Blood pressure may rise.

Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be taken concurrently with corticosteroid treatment. If sore throat or cough persists for more than 3 days, the patient should consult a physician.

Drug interactions
Because it increases potassium loss, Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be administered for prolonged use with thiazide and loop diuretics or cardiac glycosides. Because it reduces sodium and water excretion, the effectiveness of drugs used in the treatment of hypertension may be reduced. Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be administered in conjunction with spironolactone or amiloride.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Radix Glycyrrhizae is not mutagenic in vitro.

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
The drug is not teratogenic in animal models.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
The safety of Radix Glycyrrhizae preparations during pregnancy has not been established. As a precautionary measure the drug should not be used during pregnancy.

Nursing mothers
The safety of Radix Glycyrrhizae preparations during lactation has not been established. As a precautionary measure the drug should not be used during lactation except on medical advice.

Paediatric use
The safety and effectiveness of the drug in children have not been established.

Other precautions
No information available about drug and laboratory test interactions.

Adverse reactions
No adverse reactions have been associated with the drug when used within the recommended dosage and treatment period. Prolonged use (>6 weeks) of excessive doses (>50g/day) can lead to pseudoaldosteronism, which includes potassium depletion, sodium retention, oedema, hypertension, and weight gain. In rare cases, myoglobinuria and myopathy can occur.

Unless otherwise prescribed, average daily dose of crude plant material, 5–15g, corresponding to 200–800mg of glycyrrhizin. Doses of other preparations should be calculated accordingly. Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be used for longer than 4–6 weeks without medical advice


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