Glycyrrhiza glabra (Fabaceae)
Liquiritae officinalis Moench
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,
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
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.
Crude plant material, dried extract and liquid extract. Store in a well-closed
container, protected from light and moisture.
Uses supported by clinical data
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
Proven pharmacological activity
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
Demukcent, Antiulcer, Antispasmodic, Hepatoprotectant, Anti-inflammatory, Antiallergy,
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
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.
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.
The safety and effectiveness of the drug in children have not been established.
No information available about drug and laboratory test interactions.
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