Licorice, sweet delight but beware of excess!

In amusement parks you can always find licorice sticks among colorful and yummy candies and marshmallows. But licorice is also used to prepare candies, ice cream or to give a sweet scent to herbal teas. However, considering the licorice only as an aroma of sweets is reductive since the licorice is actually a natural remedy for health known for centuries. A scientific article that appeared a few months ago in the Foods magazine speaks about the properties, the benefits and the side effects of licorice (Deutch et al, Oct 2019).
Licorice, in fact, acts by supporting and strengthening the immune system. Not only that, it also has an interesting action against gastro intestinal ulcers, since it helps to repair the walls of the stomach and helps in case of digestive disorders. A study has shown promising results in the treatment with licorice of gastritis caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. In addition, this root protects the liver and is antimicrobial and antiviral. The article also mentions the important beneficial properties for the respiratory tract, since licorice contributes to calm the cough and increases the production of mucus that keeps the airways clean, and for the nervous system. The licorice contains glabridin, a polyphenol with an antioxidant action that has hypoglycemic properties, with an effect similar to that of green tea. Finally, studies are being conducted on the anticancer effect of licorice, especially as regards the breast and prostate.
However, although with all these properties, you should not exceed with licorice because, if taken in excess and in predisposed people, it can cause or aggravate hypertension. Moreover, as a consequence of an excess in the use of licorice, a potassium deficiency and an increase in the circulating sodium in the blood have been observed. These conditions, in the long run, can give problems to the cardiovascular system with arrhythmias.
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