Licorice root has long been used in East Asian medicine as a dietary supplement, herbal remedy, and even as a topical ingredient. This amazing plant can be found in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. Most of us think of licorice as a flavor of candy, but it is so much more!
To understand the many uses of licorice root, we will explore the different types of licorice, what benefits licorice has for skin health, dietary benefits of licorice, and even how licorice root has the potential to be used for weight loss.
The Many Types and Forms of Licorice
Licorice can be found in many forms. Licorice root is available as an extract, powder, chewable tablets, or even in its natural root form. There are also multiple types of licorice root found all over the world. Glycyrrhiza uralensis is a variety of licorice native to Eastern Asia. Glycyrrhiza uralensis, frequently referred to simply as licorice root, is one of the 50 fundamental herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Licorice candy was of course originally flavored with licorice root. Many higher end candies still use this method. However, most modern “licorice flavoring” is actually sourced from anise and/or fennel. These three plant products all contain a similar chemical makeup, producing very similar flavors.
While candy is great, licorice also has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties which make it a potent ingredient both for skin health and for dietary use.
Benefits of Licorice Root for Skin Health
Licorice root extract is an extremely potent substance. As we will discuss in further detail below, it is so potent that licorice should only be ingested in small quantities. Here are four (4) benefits of licorice root for the skin:
1. Licorice brightens skin by reducing dark spots
Dark spots may occur as a result of sun damage, acne, eczema, and other common skin conditions. Licorice root extract naturally lightens the skin and works as an anti-inflammatory on irritated, swollen areas.
2. Licorice root treats many common skin disorders
Many skin conditions stem from inflammation including eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. These conditions may be helped by the anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root extract. This is a natural alternative to medical treatments such as steroids.
3. Licorice can moisturize dry skin
Free radicals are uncharged electrons which may damage skin by trying to “steal” an extra electron from your skin. In simple terms, free radicals damage your skin and can come from common sources such as UV rays, skin irritants, tobacco, and oils. Licorice root is full of potent antioxidants to combat free radicals on your skin.
4. Licorice root extract offers natural sun protection
We all love the sun, but sunshine can do serious damage to our skin. Besides serious health concerns such as melanoma, even simple sunburns can be painful and harmful to long term health. Licorice may be able to soothe some of the inflammation and discomfort after skin has been damaged by the sun.
Health Benefits of Licorice Root in the Diet
Licorice root is equally potent as a dietary supplement. There are a litany of health benefits to taking licorice root supplements or as a dietary selection. However, licorice should be enjoyed in moderation as larger amounts may lead to serious health issues such as arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and even congestive heart failure. Scary stuff aside, here is how a responsible licorice intake may improve your health:
- Easing stomach discomfort: Licorice root’s natural anti-inflammatory properties allow it to reduce many common causes of intestinal distress by reducing swelling and assisting in stomach lining repair.
- Controlling stress: Studies have shown that licorice root may regulate both cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body. This allows the adrenal gland to relax and for the individual to experience some relief from stress and anxiety.
- Promoting healthy lung function: Mucus is one of the fundamental components of a healthy respiratory system. Licorice in the diet may improve the body’s natural mucus production, leading to healthier lungs.
- Licorice for weight loss: A study conducted in 2000 and reported by WebMD showed that including 3.5 grams of licorice daily promoted healthy body fat loss without negative side effects. While more research may be needed to substantiate these findings further, this small study illustrates yet another powerful effect of this incredible root.
Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare Harnesses the Power of Licorice Root Extract
Father and son duo Steven Wang, MD and Gui Wang, LAc have over 60 years of combined experience helping patients utilizing both Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern medicine. We believe that utilizing the knowledge of both worlds can lead to true breakthroughs in the field of dermatology. Our Radiance Facial Oil with Ginseng & Licorice Root uses natural licorice root extract to create a potent, safe, and effective facial oil for daily use. Consider this product or our daily Facial Oil & Youth Serum Combo Pack for best results.After years of focused testing, we are proud to offer a family of skincare products inspired by our love of holistic healing techniques. We offer products which are natural, effective, and never tested on animals.