Many people first discover liquorice – the sweet confectionary people either love or hate – in the sweetshops of their childhoods. Yet, this processed sugary treat is far removed from its namesake ingredient. By contrast, liquorice root is a powerful health food with benefits across many aspects of our health.
Liquorice root extract (sometimes also spelled as licorice) is obtained from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant. Glycyrrhiza means ‘sweet root’ and ‘glabra’ means ‘smooth’. This amazing plant extract has been used for centuries in ancient medicinal practices, including Chinese, Greek and Middle Eastern medicine. It contains over 300 active compounds that may benefit the body.
The main uses of liquorice root extract in ancient medicine were in the treatment of respiratory problems, digestive issues and inflammation. Liquorice root is now cultivated across Asia and Europe and has a range of uses. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Commonly used to sweeten foods, drinks and tobacco products, liquorice root is 30-50 times sweeter than table sugar.
Liquorice root extract is also found in a range of dietary products, including our Gut Health product.
What is the Difference Between DGL Liquorice and Liquorice Extract?
Understanding liquorice root extract can be difficult since there are a couple of different varieties. However, let’s try and break it down into a simple and easily digestible way.
The glycyrrhizin in liquorice root extract has been shown to cause negative side effects. The most notable side effects include increased blood pressure, reduced potassium levels and oedema.
To negate these side effects, some manufacturers now use a different version of liquorice root extract called deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL), where the glycyrrhizin has been removed. Deglycyrrhized liquorice enables you to obtain the health benefits of the plant without risking your health.
However, it’s important to note that you should not overuse DGL. A dosage of between 6 and 18 grams a day is recommended. Our Gut Health product contains 250 mg of liquorice root extract so it is extremely safe to use.
How Does Liquorice Root Extract Aid Gut Health?
Liquorice root extract is known to aid digestion and boost overall digestive health. Here are some of the ways this amazing plant can improve your gut health.
1. Acid Reflux and Indigestion
There is lots of research that supports the use of liquorice root extract for heartburn and indigestion. It has been shown in numerous studies to reduce functional dyspepsia and improve the quality of life in those with the condition compared to placebo.
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also be reduced with liquorice root extract supplementation, as shown by studies. In some research, it was more beneficial than commonly-used heartburn medications, such as antacids, in reducing GERD symptoms and severity.
2. Leaky Gut Syndrome
Liquorice root extract is also a known method of treating leaky gut syndrome, which is the informal name for a condition known as intestinal hyper-permeability.
Due to the anti-inflammatory effects of liquorice root extract, it may reduce the ‘leakiness’ of the gut and provide soothing effects on your digestive system. It can also improve the mucosal lining of your digestive tract, maintaining its barrier and reducing symptoms of leaky gut syndrome.
3. Peptic Ulcers
Peptic ulcers can be caused by a range of different things but one of the most common causes is a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. This species of bacteria causes inflammation in the digestive tract, which makes it prone to lesions and ulcers.
Liquorice root extract can reduce inflammation caused by H pylori, reducing the risk of peptic ulcers. One study showed that it was more beneficial in protecting against ulcers than a commonly used medication called omeprazole. However, this study was done in mice, so there is further research required to confirm these effects.
Now you know exactly why liquorice root extract is amazing for your gut health, you can start implementing it into your diet. Our Gut Health product provides you with all of the best ingredients you need to maximize your gut health and reduce digestive symptoms, including liquorice root extract, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and a range of other beneficial plant extracts.