Liquiritiae radix

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 27.01.2023

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Glycyrrhiza glabra; Licorice; Licorice root; Radix liquiritiae. Liquorice root

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Licorice root, drug from the unpeeled or peeled dried root of Glycyrrhiza glabra the licorice shrub. There are positive monographs of Commission E and ESCOP.

Active ingredients are: 2-15% glycyrrhizin (according to PH.Eur. at least 4% of dry weight), glycyrrhetinic acid, mannitol, glucose, sucrose, flavone glycosides (e.g. liquiritin).

Quality of licorice root (Liquiritiae radix) and licorice root dry extract as flavor corrigendum (Liquiritiae extractum siccum ad saporandum) is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.).

Quality of "Standardized Licorice Dry Extract" (Liquiritiae extractum siccum normatum) is specified in the German Drug Codex (DAC).

HMPC monograph: Traditional-use: dyspeptic complaints, heartburn, expectorant in cold-related cough
ESCOP monograph: gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastritis; expectorant in cough and bronchial catarrh.
Commission E mon ograph: upper respiratory tract catarrh, ventriculi/duodeni ulcer.

Empirical medicine: heartburn, gastric disorders due to hyperacidity, productive cough, bronchial asthma, dermatitis.

Field of application/use
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Dyspeptic complaints, heartburn, mucolytic agent in cold-related cough, bronchitis, ulcus ventriculi/duodeni, aphthae.

An extract of licorice can also be used successfully for chloasma.

Externally, as an ointment significant improvement of erythema, edema and pruritus (double-blind, placebo-controlled study; Abramowitz et al) Commercial preparation: Atopiclair®.

Dosage and method of use
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Average daily dose: about 5-15 g of drug corresponding to 200-800 mg of glycyrrhizin; Succus Liquiritiae: 0.5-1 g for catarrhal manifestations of the upper respiratory tract; 1.5-3 g for ventriculi/duodeni ulcer.

Tea infusion: 1 to 1.5 g of finely chopped or coarsely powdered licorice root mixed with 150 mL of cold water, bring to a boil, strain after 10 to 15 min. Alternatively, use boiling hot water.

Drink 1 cup 3 to 4 times a day.

Undesirable effects
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With prolonged use and higher dosage: mineralocorticoids effects: sodium and water retention, potassium loss with hypertension, edema (water accumulation in tissues), rarely myoglobinuria.

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Due to the blood pressure-increasing effect, do not prescribe at the same time as diuretics, cardiac glycosides, corticosteroids, laxatives or drugs that interfere with the electrolyte balance, caution in particular potassium loss!

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Severe liver disease, hypertension, existing angina pectoris, terminal renal failure, pregnancy (see also explanations under glycyrrhizin), potassium deficiency. Pregnancy.
No knowledge of the use of liquorice root in children and adolescents under 18 years of age.
Allergy to one of the ingredients

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Various tea mixtures are offered for the different indications, mostly as combination preparations:

Bladder Kidney Tea Stada® N, Bladder Kidney Tea Uroflux® Tea Infusion Powder, Bronchostad®, Chest and Cough Tea-Stada® N, Buccotean®TF, Dr. Klinger's stomach tea, Fugacid® bladder tea, Fugacid® neurogast tea, urinary tea 400, skin and blood cleansing tea, Heumann bronchial tea Solubifix® N, Heumann stomach tea Solu-Vetan® NG, Kneipp®Gastropressan, gastrointestinal tea, Nieron® bladder and kidney tea VI, Orbis® bladder and kidney tea, Orbis® cough and bronchial tea, Renob® bladder and kidney tea, Solu-Vetan® NG cum Belladonna, Warando® laxative tea

Lakriment Pastilles® (mono-preparation): dosage: 1-1-1 or 2-2-2/day

Externally: Atopiclair®

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Licorice contains about 20% of the licorice sugar. Glycyrrhizin is hydrolyzed in the intestine to glycyrrhic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid with resulting affinity of these to the receptors of mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids and estrogen. Furthermore, inhibition of 5-ß-steroid reductase and 11-ß-hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase. Hereby blockade of the conversion of cortisol to cortisone with prolongation of the half-life of cortisol!

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  1. Jung JC et al (2016) Hepatoprotective effect of licorice, the root of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fischer, in alcohol-induced fatty liver disease. BMC Complement Altern Med 16:19.
  2. Kamei J et al. (2005) Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of the antitussive principles of Glycyrrhizae radix (licorice), a main component of the Kampo preparation Bakumondo-to (Mai-men-dong-tang). Eur J Pharmacol 507:163-168.
  3. Sun C et al. (2008) Analysis of glycyrrhizic acid and liquiritin in liquorice root with microwave-assisted micellar extraction and pre -concentration. Phytochem Anal 19:160-163.
  4. Yang XL et al. (2013) Study on in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of total flavonoids from Glycyrrhizae Radix et Rhizoma and its ingredients. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 38:99-104.
  5. Abramovits W et al. (2006) A multicenter, randomized, vehicle-controlled clinical study to examine the efficacy and safety of MAS 063 DP (Atopiclair) in the management of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in adults. J Drugs Dermatol 5: 236-244
  8. Wenigmann M.(2017) Phytotherapy medicinal drugs phytopharmaceuticals application. Urban & Fischer: 5.108 Rockweed (Meliloti herba) p 200-201.