Liquorice Tea Benefits and Side Effects
Liquorice root, one of the oldest herbal remedies in the world, is derived from the plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra). It has been used for centuries to treat various ailments and add flavour to candies, drinks, and medicines. While some Liquorice Tea Benefits and uses are supported by scientific research, it is important to note that it may also pose side effects for some.
For those with a sweet tooth, liquorice tea is the perfect choice. It is believed to be 30 to 50 times sweeter than table sugar, yet it does not harm teeth. But the benefits of liquorice tea go beyond its sweetness. In this article, we will explore its botany, history, nutritional value, and the scientific evidence behind its health benefits.
So, let's delve into the fascinating world of this incredible and flavorful herbal tea. And if you're interested, you can purchase it from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Liquorice Tea
- 1. Liquorice for Acne and Skin Conditions
- 2. Liquorice Tea for Constipation
- 3. Liquorice Tea Helps Manage Gastritis
- 4. Liquorice Tea for Tooth Decay and Cavities
- 5. Liquorice Tea Can Help Hepatitis C
- 6. Liquorice Aids Respiratory Conditions
- 7. Liquorice Tea Relieve Acid Reflux
- 8. Liquorice Tea PCOS Benefits
- 9. Liquorice Tea Can Boost Weight Loss
- 10. Liquorice Tea Reduces Menopause Symptoms
- 11. Liquorice Tea Helps with Diabetes
- Liquorice Tea Side Effects
Benefits of Liquorice Tea
One of the key benefits of liquorice tea is its impressive nutritional profile. This tea is rich in flavonoids, phytonutrients that possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties. It's also a good source of glycyrrhizic acid, a potent natural sweetener that is much sweeter than sucrose but without harmful effects on dental health.
It has long been prized for its potential health-boosting properties. Its most notable benefits include digestive support, respiratory relief, and reduction of stress and fatigue. In terms of digestive health, the anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of liquorice root can provide relief for conditions like heartburn, indigestion, gastritis, and stomach ulcers.
For respiratory health, the tea has traditionally been used to soothe sore throats and suppress coughs. Additionally, this herbal tea is believed to have adaptogenic properties, helping the body to resist physical, chemical, and biological stress.
Although liquorice tea benefits are promising, it's important to consume it in moderation due to its glycyrrhizic acid content, which can cause side effects in large amounts.
Let's delve deeper into the scientifically proven benefits of liquorice root tea.
1. Liquorice for Acne and Skin Conditions
Your skin, the body's largest organ, is composed of various elements such as water, protein, lipids, minerals, and chemicals. On average, it weighs around six pounds and plays a critical role in safeguarding you against infections and germs.
Throughout your lifespan, your skin undergoes continuous transformation, renewing itself approximately every 27 days. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize proper skincare to uphold the well-being and vitality of this vital protective shield.
Containing numerous compounds that can effectively reduce inflammation in both the skin and other areas of the body. These compounds offer potential treatment for various skin conditions. A recent animal study demonstrated that glycyrrhizin extract from liquorice root may significantly alleviate symptoms related to eczema.
Acne is a prevalent skin condition that impacts the majority of individuals at some stage in their lives. It results in the formation of blemishes, excess oil production, and occasionally, skin that feels warm or sensitive to touch.
In a recent 2-week study involving 60 adults, the use of a topical gel containing liquorice root extract was explored as a potential treatment for acne. However, the research on its effectiveness is currently inconsistent and limited in scope.
2. Liquorice Tea for Constipation
Constipation is a condition in which people experience difficulty passing stools or have infrequent bowel movements. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling like the bowels are full even after an attempt to pass stool.
A body of scientific evidence suggests that liquorice root tea may be beneficial in treating constipation. One study found that it was able to improve the consistency of stools and increase the frequency of defecation. Preliminary evidence suggests that liquorice tea benefits may have a stimulative effect on the bowels, acting as a gentle laxative. This can help with regular bowel movements.
It is important to note that the term "preliminary" indicates that there is currently insufficient scientific evidence to fully confirm this claim. Therefore, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company does not endorse the use of Liquorice Tea for this purpose.
However, we are supportive of continued research, which has shown promising results thus far.
3. Liquorice Tea Helps Manage Gastritis
Gastritis refers to inflammation in the stomach lining, which is a protective layer called mucosa. This mucosa safeguards the stomach from acids, enzymes, and microorganisms that it encounters regularly. When your immune system identifies a potential threat to this barrier, it initiates inflammation in the tissues as a defence mechanism to combat infections and facilitate the healing process.
Liquorice root tea is frequently used to help manage gastritis and its symptoms. The flavonoids present in it are believed to contain anti-inflammatory properties which can aid in reducing the inflammation of the stomach lining, providing relief from discomfort and pain.
Furthermore, studies suggest that glycyrrhizic acid, a key component of liquorice, can potentially inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of gastritis.
It's crucial, however, to remember that while drinking liquorice tea may provide relief from symptoms, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about a serious medical condition like gastritis.
4. Liquorice Tea for Tooth Decay and Cavities
Tooth decay starts when bacteria in your mouth produce acids that harm the surface of your teeth (enamel), resulting in a cavity. Ignoring tooth decay can lead to pain, infection, and loss of teeth. Regardless of age, anyone with teeth, from childhood to old age, can experience tooth decay.
New research indicates that liquorice extract has the potential to eliminate the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. A recent review from 2020 reveals that liquorice benefits can effectively reduce the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth. This reduction in bacterial growth not only reduces the acidity in the mouth but also aids in preventing the formation of dental cavities.
In another 3-week study, researchers provided 66 preschool-aged children with sugar-free lollipops containing 15 mg of liquorice root. These lollipops were consumed twice a day during the school week. The results revealed that the consumption of these lollipops had a significant impact on reducing the number of Streptococcus mutants bacteria, which is the primary culprit behind cavities.
Further research is necessary to determine the ideal dosage and preparation of liquorice root.
5. Liquorice Tea Can Help Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by a virus. Without treatment, it can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening liver damage over time. However, modern treatments have proven highly effective in curing the infection, allowing most individuals to expect a normal lifespan.
In the UK, approximately 118,000 people were living with chronic hepatitis C in 2019. The infection primarily spreads through contact with the blood of an infected individual, although the risk of transmission is very low.
Recent research has indicated that liquorice root tea may aid with managing and treating hepatitis C. In a study involving 63 patients, participants were given 2 tablespoons of this herb twice a day for 6 months. The results showed that 56 out of the 63 individuals tested had a complete resolution of their infection during the study period.
In addition, the researchers concluded that the use of liquorice tea reduced levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a biomarker commonly used to diagnose liver damage caused by hepatitis C infection.
A study conducted in a test tube observed that the addition of glycyrrhizin to a conventional hepatitis C treatment led to a significant decrease in the spread of the virus. However, it is important to note that although these findings are promising, further research is needed to confirm these effects in humans.
It is important to note that while these studies provide compelling evidence for the effectiveness of liquorice root, further research is necessary to fully understand its potential benefits in treating hepatitis C.
6. Liquorice Aids Respiratory Conditions
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, occupational lung diseases, and pulmonary hypertension are among the most frequently occurring respiratory conditions.
These conditions are not only caused by tobacco smoke but also by other risk factors such as air pollution, certain occupational chemicals and dust, as well as frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood.
Liquorice tea has potential benefits for upper respiratory conditions. Animal studies have found that glycyrrhizin extract from liquorice root can help alleviate asthma, particularly when combined with modern asthma treatments.
Although there is limited human research supporting these findings, further robust and long-term studies are necessary to confirm the potential effects.
7. Liquorice Tea Relieve Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where stomach acid regularly flows back into your oesophagus, irritating. While many people experience occasional acid reflux, repeated episodes can lead to GERD. Fortunately, most people can alleviate GERD symptoms through lifestyle changes and medication. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary for symptom relief.
Liquorice tea has been utilised for centuries as a traditional remedy to alleviate symptoms of acid reflux. The key component of liquorice, glycyrrhizic acid, is credited with many of its benefits.
It not only reduces inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract but can also help to strengthen the protective mucus lining of the stomach and oesophagus. This can provide relief from the discomfort associated with acid reflux, as this enhanced barrier prevents stomach acids from damaging the oesophagus.
A comprehensive study conducted on 58 adults with GERD revealed that liquorice root, when used daily, proved to be superior to commonly prescribed antacids in reducing symptoms over 2 years. Although these findings show promise, further extensive human studies are required to ascertain its effectiveness.
8. Liquorice Tea PCOS Benefits
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition that affects 1 in 5 women in the UK. It is characterised by high levels of androgens (male hormones) in the female body, coupled with irregular menstrual cycles and cysts in the ovaries.
Women with PCOS may experience a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, acne, excessive hair growth, and fertility problems. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is believed to be related to hormonal imbalances and genetic factors. Although there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication and one of the benefits of liquorice tea.
A recent study published in the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research has shown that the extract is a powerful herbal medicine for treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
This study considered data from two Italian clinical trials, which explored the effects of liquorice on the hormonal health of women. One trial specifically investigated the impact on androgen growth in nine healthy women and discovered that it can lower serum testosterone levels.
The researchers also concluded that it should be considered as an additional treatment for excessive hair growth and PCOS. The other trial focused on PCOS patients who were already taking spironolactone, an anti-androgen pharmaceutical therapy.
The results showed that those who were given an additional daily dose of 3.5g of liquorice experienced improved outcomes. This research highlights the potential health benefits of liquorice tea alongside existing treatments for PCOS.
9. Liquorice Tea Can Boost Weight Loss
A recent 2022 study has revealed that the UK is ranked fourth in Europe for the highest number of overweight and obese adults. Shockingly, obesity affects a staggering 59% of adults across the continent, leading the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare it an epidemic.
This alarming issue causes over 1.2 million deaths annually. Excess body fat not only increases the risk of premature death but also contributes to disability. Sadly, this problem extends to our children, with 8% of those under five and one in three school-age children being overweight or obese.
Among European countries, the UK falls behind only Israel, Malta, and Turkey in terms of the percentage of adults struggling with their weight.
Liquorice tea is often recommended as a natural aid for weight loss. The active ingredient in liquorice, glycyrrhizin, helps to regulate and balance cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, can trigger overeating and encourages the body to store fat, especially in the abdominal area. By managing cortisol levels, it can potentially curb cravings and deter visceral fat accumulation.
In addition, liquorice tea may enhance the body's metabolic rate, encouraging a faster breakdown and burning of fats. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation reported that regular consumption of liquorice tea over an extended period may reduce body fat mass and suppress aldosterone. A hormone that can cause water and sodium retention.
It's important to note, however, that while the potential weight loss benefits of liquorice tea are promising. Drinking it alone without combining it with a balanced diet and regular exercise may not yield significant results. Further research is necessary to fully understand the potential weight loss benefits of liquorice tea.
10. Liquorice Tea Reduces Menopause Symptoms
Menopause marks the end of a woman's reproductive cycle, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. It is a natural biological process, characterised by the cessation of menstrual cycles and a drop in the levels of reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
Symptoms associated with menopause can vary in intensity but commonly include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, sleep disturbances, and vaginal dryness. These changes can cause discomfort and sometimes significantly affect a woman's quality of life.
However, many treatments and lifestyle adjustments can help alleviate these symptoms. It's important to note that while menopause is a significant transition in a woman's life, it doesn't signify a decrease in femininity or sexual health.
It is a natural remedy that can effectively reduce hot flashes associated with menopause. It has estrogen-like effects and can improve respiratory health while reducing overall stress.
However, it is important to note that liquorice can interact negatively with certain prescription medications. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a doctor before consuming liquorice tea.
11. Liquorice Tea Helps with Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects millions of individuals globally. It's characterised by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This primarily due to the body's inability to make adequate insulin or utilise it effectively.
There are two primary types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, often diagnosed in children and young adults. It is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Type 2 diabetes is more common and tends to develop later in life. It occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
Persistent high blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Despite these potential complications, with the right management strategies, individuals with diabetes can live healthy and active lives.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin have discovered a naturally occurring substance in liquorice root that shows potential in treating complex metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes.
During laboratory experiments, the amorfrutins demonstrated the ability to reduce blood sugar levels and prevent the development of fatty liver disease, which can result from a high-fat diet.
By lowering glucose levels, amorfrutins may help combat insulin resistance, a major contributing factor to the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is important to note that consuming it or drinking liquorice tea may not have the same effect, as the concentration of amorfrutins in these products is too low to be effective in managing diabetes. There is no doubt that the liquorice tea benefits may help in some way with managing diabetes.
During a 60-day study on rats, the daily consumption of liquorice root extract demonstrated substantial improvements in blood sugar levels and kidney health. However, it is important to note that the same effect has not been validated in humans yet.
Liquorice Tea Side Effects
While there are many potential benefits of consuming liquorice tea, it is important to note that overconsumption may cause side effects.
Glycyrrhizin, the active ingredient in the root, has been known to cause potassium deficiencies and elevate blood pressure in people who consume large amounts of it regularly.
It is also important to note that liquorice tea effects may interact with certain medications, including antidepressants, steroids, diuretics, and oral contraceptives. Those taking these or any other medication should consult a doctor before consuming it.
It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for many ailments and to add flavour to food and beverages. It has potential benefits for lowering cortisol levels, managing menopausal symptoms, improving metabolism, and reducing the risk of diabetes.
However, it is important to note that overconsumption may lead to negative side effects like potassium deficiencies and elevated blood pressure. It is also recommended to consult a doctor before taking liquorice tea if you are on any medications.
Therefore, it is important to consume liquorice root in small amounts and only for short periods for maximum benefit. Additionally, it is always wise to combine it with a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. This can help to ensure that you get the benefits of liquorice tea and reduce the risk of any adverse effects.