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Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has hundreds of potentially healing substances have been identified in licorice, including compounds called flavonoids and various plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). The herb's key therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin (which is 50 times sweeter than sugar) exerts numerous beneficial effects on the body, making licorice a valuable herb for treating a host of ailments.

It has a well-documented reputation for healing ulcers. It can lower stomach acid levels, relieve heartburn and indigestion and acts as a mild laxative. It can also be used for irritation, inflammation and spasm in the digestive tract. Through its beneficial action on the liver, it increases bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels.

Licorice also enhances immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical that fights off attacking viruses. It also contains powerful antioxidants. Licorice acid also stops the growth of many bacteria and of viruses such as influenza A.

Licorice Root relieves pain and stress. It has an aspirin-like action and is helpful in relieving fevers and soothing pain such as headaches. Its anti-allergenic effect is very useful for hay fever, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and bronchial asthma. By its action on the adrenal glands, licorice has the ability to improve resistance to stress. It should be thought of during times of both physical and emotional stress.

Licorice Root controls respiratory problems and sore throat. It eases congestion and coughing by helping to loosen and thin mucus in airways; this makes a cough more "productive," bringing up phlegm and other mucus bits. Licorice also helps to relax bronchial spasms. The herb also soothes soreness in the throat and fights viruses that cause respiratory illnesses and an overproduction of mucus, such as irritating coughs, asthma and chest infections.

By enhancing cortisol activity, Licorice helps to increase energy, ease stress and reduce the symptoms of ailments sensitive to cortisol levels. Licorice both protects the liver and promotes healing in this vital organ. The herb's anti-inflammatory properties help calm hepatitis-associated liver inflammation. Licorice also fights the virus commonly responsible for hepatitis and supplies valuable antioxidant compounds that help maintain the overall health of the liver.
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