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Does licorice work? Some studies have suggested that licorice may help to lower cholesterol and treat certain stomach problems, as well as to treat eczema and hepatitis. However, this research is preliminary and more studies are needed to support these claims. Because licorice may cause some serious side effects, you should not use it medicinally without your healthcare provider's approval.

Does Licorice Really Work?

You may have heard claims that licorice works wonders for a variety of medical problems. But are these claims really true? This article will address some of the questions you may have about the effectiveness of licorice for various uses, based on available scientific evidence. This article will address the effectiveness of licorice for the following uses:
  • Heart health
  • Stomach problems
  • Eczema
  • Hepatitis.

Does Licorice Work for Heart Health?

Some early studies suggest that licorice extract may lower cholesterol. Specifically, studies have shown that licorice may decrease total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol), and triglycerides. However, it is important to note that these studies are quite preliminary, and much more research is necessary. Also, licorice can cause extremely dangerous side effects in people with heart disease. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure (CHF), do not take licorice without your healthcare provider's approval.

Does Licorice Work for Stomach Problems?

Studies have suggested that a specific product that combines licorice with several other herbs can decrease the symptoms related to heartburn or indigestion, such as:
  • Acid reflux
  • Upper chest or throat pain
  • Stomach cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.
However, it is not clear if taking licorice alone is also beneficial for these symptoms.
Research also suggests that deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) products, which have had the glycyrrhizin component removed, may help heal stomach ulcers. This is probably due to licorice's ability to prevent the breakdown of prostaglandins, substances that can help protect the stomach. Normal (not DGL) licorice products are probably equally effective, although they are more likely to cause serious side effects.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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