OK. Who saw this one coming?
Glycyrrhizin was valued in ancient Arabia and Greece for treating coughs and in China for relieving irritation of the mucous membranes. In modern times, glycyrrhizin has been shown to be a formidable antiviral, fighting herpes, HIV, hepatitis, influenza, encephalitis and pneumonia as well as less known viruses like respiratory syncytial virus, arboviruses, vaccinia virus and vesicular stomatitis virus.
Glycyrrhizin Has Medicinal Properties
You may think of licorice as an extract, a sweetener or even a candy, like Good and Plenty, but it’s actually complex biochemically and offers important medical benefits. According to PubChem, a database of chemical molecules maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information,
“Glycyrrhizic acid is extracted from the root of the licorice plant; Glycyrrhiza glabra. It is a triterpene glycoside with glycyrrhetinic acid that possesses a wide range of pharmacological and biological activities … potential immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, hepato- and neuro-protective, and antineoplastic activities.
Glycyrrhizin modulates certain enzymes involved in inflammation and oxidative stress, and downregulates certain pro-inflammatory mediators, thereby protecting against inflammation- and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced damage. Glycerrhizin may also suppress the growth of susceptible tumor cells.”
According to Botanical Medicine, the anti-inflammatory actions of glycyrrhizin (GL) may stem from suppression of cytokines:
“As testimony to its anti-inflammatory properties, glycyrrhizin alleviated allergic asthma in an experimental mouse model, increased the IL-4 and IL-5 levels, decreased eosinophil counts and IgE levels, and upregulated total IgG2a in serum.
These results indicated that glycyrrhizin interfered with the production of IgE by decreasing the IgE-stimulating cytokines. It also attenuated lung inflammation and mucus production in mice.”
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