Glycyrrhiza glabra

(redirected from wild licorice)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to wild licorice: wild liquorice, wild fennel


(lik-e-rish) ,

Glycyrrhiza glabra

(trade name),

deglycyrrhized licorice (DGL)

(trade name),

sweet root

(trade name)


Therapeutic: antiulcer agents


Licorice blocks the metabolism of prostaglandins E and F2 alpha and may accelerate peptic ulcer healing. Licorice root also has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, laxative and soothing properties.

Therapeutic effects

Improved symptoms of dyspepsia.


Absorption: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.
Half-life: Unknown.

Time/action profile



Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity.Pregnancy and lactation.
Use Cautiously in: Congestive heart failure.Hypertension.Renal disease.Hypokalemia.Consumption of 30 grams/day or more for several weeks can cause severe adverse events.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • headache
  • lethargy


  • arrhythmias
  • hypertension


  • pseudohyperaldosteronism
  • hyperparathyroidism
  • decreased serum testosterone

Fluid and Electrolyte

  • hypokalemia
  • sodium and water retention


  • nausea
  • vomiting


  • acute renal failure


  • muscle weakness


↑ risk of cardiotoxicity with cardiac glycosides ↓ effectiveness of antihypertensives ↑ potassium loss with potassium-depleting diuretics ↑ metabolism and ↓ levels of warfarin Licorice causes potassium depletion which may increase the risk of cardiotoxicity withcardiac glycoside-containing herbs (digitalis) Additive potassium depletion can occur with stimulant laxative herbs (senna)
Oral (Adults) Dyspepsia—1 mL three times daily (Iberogast — combination product with other herbs) for 4 weeks


Liquid extract: Tablets: Capsules:

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess GI function (bowel sounds, abdominal distention, and usual pattern of bowel function) before and periodically during therapy.
  • Monitor blood pressure and ECG periodically during prolonged therapy.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Monitor 17–hydroxyprogesterone concentrations, electrolytes, LDH, lipid profile, liver function tests, plasma renin, renal function test, and testosterone periodically during therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Deficient knowledge, related to medication regimen (Patient/Family Teaching)


  • Oral: Administration should be limited to 4 wks.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take as directed.
  • Advise female patient to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breastfeeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Reduction in dyspepsia.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners


A preparation from the root of a legume, usually Glycyrrhiza glabra, which contains asparagine, betaine, chalcones, choline, coumarins, flavonoids, glycyrrhizin, gums, isoflavonoids and saponins. Liquorice has a high content of glycyrrhizic acid—glucuronic acid + glycyrrhetinic acid—which is structurally similar to steroids, explaining its anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and antirheumatic effects; it is antitussive, demulcent, expectorant, laxative, sedative and reduces serum glucose and cholesterol.
Chinese medicine
Liquorice is used topically for abscesses and wounds, and internally for abdominal pain and spasms, alcohol and other intoxications, asthma, cholecystitis, cirrhosis, colds, coughing and wheezing, constipation, diabetes, fever, gastritis, gastric ulcers, heartburn, hepatitis, lung congestion, and sore throat.
Herbal medicine
In Western herbal medicine, Glycyrrhiza glabra is used topically for eczema, herpes and skin infections, and internally for arthritis, colic, constipation, cough, gastric ulcers, hepatitis and for many of the same conditions as Chinese medicine.
Excess liquorice causes mineralocorticoid excess (e.g., suppresses 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and the RAA axis), with sodium and water retention, hypertension, hypokalemia and myopathy with myoglobulinuria; it should not be used in patients with glaucoma, hypertension, renal disease or pregnancy.

Liquorice has an unsubstantiated reputation as an aphrodisiac. Its erotic power is mentioned in the Kama Sutra, and liquorice potions are recommended for “sexual vigour”. Liquorice odours are said to increase blood flow to the genitalia.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.