Sweet Root – this naturally sweet tea soothes a sore throat and liquefies mucus. Add ginger to warm the energetics. Licorice extends the half life of cortisol (stress hormones) making it an effective adrenal tonic.
Botanical name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
Other names: sweet root, black sugar, sweet wood
Part used: root
Taste (rasa): sweet (madhur), bitter (tikta)
Characteristic (guna): guru, snigdha
Energy (veerya): cooling (sheeta)
Post digestive effect (vipak): sweet (madhur)
Dosha effects: decreases vatta, pitta, kapha. If used in excess increases kapha
Action (karma) EXTERNAL: analgesic, anti-inflammatory and helps hair growth. Used with ghee to heal surgical wounds.
Action (karma) INTERNAL: adrenal tonic, calms the mind, rasayana, sukra dhatu tonic, increases volume and sperm count, useful in premature ejaculation, antacid, aperient (mild laxative), anti-emetic, emetic in large doses, treats ulcers, chronic liver disorders, cools & purifies blood, diuretic, beneficial in inflammation of the urinary tract, emolliating herb used in preventing itching, its anti-inflammatory pitta reducing effects are commonly employed to treat red, hot, inflamed skin disorders, febrifuge, hepatoprotective action in hepatitis and chronic liver disorders, beneficial to eyes, used in asthma, bronchitis, dry cough with phlegm, sore throat, laryngitis and tonsilitis, expectorant.
Dose: infuse half a teaspoon of licorice in boiling water for 15 minutes.
Contraindications: Licorice should be avoided in cases of high blood pressure, cardiac or kidney insufficiency, pregnancy, fluid retention or myasthenia gravis sufferers (rare muscle disease). Licorice may be incompatible or interfere with prescription drugs used for the treatment of hypertension or heart failure. Pregnant women should avoid licorice as it may cause fluid retention.
Licorice is a very special plant with over 600 healing properties. It improves the medicinal quality of other herbs so is often added to medicinal teas. Since ancient times licorice has been valued as an aphrodisiac, beautifying agent, used for vitality and longevity, and called an elixir of life. It is one of the oldest remedies for coughs and chest complaints. Licorice contains a unique substance called glycyrrhizin, which has been found to be 50 times sweeter than refined sugar and contains no calories. Licorice works on the digestive, respiratory, nervous, reproductive and excretory systems. It is an effective expectorant, often mixed with ginger to help liquefy mucous and facilitate its discharge. It is used to calm the mind, nourish the brain and increase cranial and cerebro-spinal fluid and to benefit vision, voice, hair, complexion and stamina. For the liver it has hepatoprotective action in hepatitis and chronic liver disease. It soothes the heat that travels via the liver to the blood. Used for skin conditions, such as acne, with heat and inflammation. It is also a strong adrenal tonic giving enduring energy. Its cooling action and unctuous nature are beneficial in inflammations of the urinary tract. Its anti-inflammatory pitta-reducing effects are commonly employed to treat red, hot, inflamed skin disorders.
Ref: ‘Ayurvedic Medicine’ by Sebastian Pole; ‘Ayurvedic Pharmacology & Therapeutic Uses of Medicinal Plants’ by Vaidya V.M. Gogte; ‘Yogi of Herbs’ by V. Lad & D. Frawley; ‘Herbs Are Special’ by Isabel Shipard.