Glycyrrhiza glabra

Plant Name

Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.
Synonims- Glycyrrhiza glabra ssp. glandulifera (Waldst. & Kit.) Ponert
Glycyrrhiza glandulifera Waldst. & Kit.

Botanical Info

A perennial growing up to 1.2 m heigh


The licorice grows in valleys and lower levels of the steppe and semidesert rivers, in steppes and semi-deserts, on pratums, in dumetums, along the roads and ditches, forming tickets. It is cultivated in many districts with a temperate climate. As a wild plant grows in France, Southeast Europe, in the North Africa, the Western and the Central Asia.

Chemical Content

Coumarins: glycyrin, heniarin, liqcoumarin, umbelliferone, 7 (3-arylcoumarin derivative). Flavonoids, flavonols and isoflavones including formononetin, glabrin, glabrol, glabrone, glyzarin, glycyrol, glabridin and derivatives, kumatakenin, licoflavonol, licoisoflavones A and B, licoisoflavanone, licoricone, liquiritin and derivatives, phaseollinisoflavan; chalcones including isoliquiritigenin, licuraside, echinatin, licochalcones A and B, neolicuroside. Terpenoids. Glycyrrhizin glycoside (1–24%) also known as glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhizinic acid yielding glycyrrhetic acid and glucuronic acid following hydrolysis; glycyrrhetol, glabrolide, licoric acid, liquiritic acid and b-amyrin.
Volatile oils 0.047%. Other constituents- amino acids, amines, gums, lignin, starch, sterols (b-sitosterol, stigmasterol), sugars and wax.

Traditional Use and Activity

Liquorice is known to possess expectorant, demulcent, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and laxative properties. Traditionally, it is also reported to affect the adrenal glands. It has been used for bronchial catarrh, bronchitis, chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, colic and primary adrenocortical insufficiency. Liquorice exhibits an alternative action on oestrogen metabolism, causing inhibition if oestrogen concentrations are high and potentiation when concentrations are low. Antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis and Candida albicans has been documented for liquorice and attributed to isoflavonoid constituents (glabridin, glabrol and their derivatives). Antiviral activity has been described for glycyrrhetinic acid, which interacts with virus structures producing different effects according to the viral stage affected.