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Medical researchers have isolated several active substances in licorice root including glycosides, flavonoids, asparagine, isoflavonoids, chalcones and coumarins. Primary of these is Glycyrrhetinic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory compound that led to the successful development of drugs used in the treatment of duodenal and gastric ulcers, as well as ulcers of the mouth and
Another licorice compound, glycyrrhizin, has been shown to possess anti-viral properties effective against the polio virus, herpes zoster, herpes simplex, and the HIV virus. Both compounds have also been found to inhibit cancer cells in vitro, though clinical studies on humans have not been conducted.
Other derivatives of licorice have elicited a host of active ingredients that seem to act
as anti-depressants and, if that weren't enough, inhibit the enzymes that cause tooth decay. All in all licorice is a very impressive herb that is well supported by medical research and clinical data.
The following information is brief abstract from: Herbal Pharmacy: Licorice Widely used as a flavoring agent, this familiar herb also has many therapeutic benefits by Wendell L. Combest, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Campbell University School of Pharmacy, Buies Creek, North Carolina, U.S.A.