Plant Profile: Licorice

(Glycyrrhiza glabra)


Energetics: Neutral. Moistening.

Taste: Sweet

Tissue States: 

Systems Affected: Lungs. Stomach. Intestines. Spleen. Liver. Adrenal/Endocrine. 

Parts Used: Root

Key Components: Glycosides (glycyrrhizin & glycyrrhizinic acid). Saponins. Flavonoids. Bitters. Volatile oils. Coumarins. Asparagine. Estrogenic substances. 

Preparations & dosage: Decoction 1/2 to 1 tsp simmered for 10-15 minutes. Tincture. 

Foundational: Demulcent. Stimulant
Primary: Expectorant. Adrenal Agent. Mild Laxative. 
Secondary: Anti-inflammatory. Anti-spasmodic. 


 50 times sweeter than sugar. Safe for diabetics. Phytohormones provide building blocks for the endocrine system. A great harmonizer. Use 5-10% in formulas to round it out with its sweet moistening properties. When broken down in stomach, anti-arthritic & anti-inflammatory properties act similarly to hydrocortisone & corticosteroids. Herb of choice for soothing irritated & inflamed tissues, particularly for sore throat, nasal passageways, lungs, bronchial inflammation & stomach & bowel irritation. Can soothe, soften, lubricate & nourish the entire intestinal tract. Relieving throat inflammation & strengthening vocal cords. Helpful for both gastric & peptic ulcers. Tea & tincture both excellent for tonight & strengthening the endocrine system. Specific for adrenal exhaustion. Gently supports adrenal glands ability to produce hormones & aids in the breakdown & elimination of worn out hormones via liver & kidneys. Enhances adrenal function & cortisol production to balance blood sugar & decrease stress & inflammation. Excellent for menopausal support. Often considered estrogenic or estrogen stimulating. Provides the building blocks (essential nutrients) the body needs to produce estrogen if thats what the body needs. Can be safely added to tonics & detox formulas to hide the harsh stimulating effects aspects of bitter herbs without interfering with the benefit.
  • 50 times sweeter than cane sugar. 
  • Adrenal insufficiency & other gland problems
  • Addison's disease
  • Enhance adrenal function & cortisol production which balances blood sugar as well as decreasing stress and inflammation. 
  • Cold/flu
  • bronchitis
  • coughs
  • gastritis
  • ulcers
  • abdominal colic
  • Add to tonic and detoxifying formulas to help with the more harsh stimulating aspects of bitter herbs that wont interfere with the beneficial components of them. 
  • Stimulating property counteracts stress. 
  • Safe sweetener for diabetics. 
  • Safe as a mild laxative for children and those with debilitation. 

Combines well with: 
For cold/flu: Black pepper, sage, juniper, cayenne or ginger.
For liver: Equal parts peony. 
Blood detoxifier: Echinacea, dandelion, red clover, burdock, sasafrass, sarsparilla. 


Growing: Sow seeds in spring or early summer. Can also start from cutting. Likes Rich, moist, sandy soil. Full sun to partial shade. A perennial that does well in zones 6-10.

Contraindications: Large Frequent doses will exacerbate hypertension. Not for those with hypertension with a propensity for water retention. If one is suffering from adrenal fatigue it will have the effect of making one feel "jumpy" as if you've had too much coffee. 

The Complete Herbs Sourcebook: David Hoffman. Pg 277-278
The Way of Herbs: Michael Tierra. Pg 230-231 
The Herbal Apothecary: JJ Pursell. Pg 124-125