by Mishelle Knuteson, M.H.
(with some excerpts from Dr. Christopher’s Natural Healing Newsletter Volume 3 Number 3)
I think the Egyptians may have been on the right track in their thinking that Licorice is a cure-all. A few more uses for Licorice are as a blood cleanser and detoxifier with benefits to the liver. It increases the flow of saliva and alleviates thirst when the root is chewed on and it also makes an excellent natural teething ring for babies to help bring the teeth through.
In addition to quenching thirst, Licorice will quench the appetite and reduce the desire to smoke tobacco and consume alcohol. It will increase sexual desire and help a person stay alert (a No-Doz substitute). Mixed with honey it is great for external wounds and skin irritations. One of our students prepared a combination of tincture of peppermint and licorice root for a very distressed opera singer who was losing her voice due to laryngitis. The formula enabled the singer to regain her voice and her composure within a day’s time. The student called the preparation, “Opera Throat Formula,” and successfully administers it to her laryngitis-suffering friends.
Additional uses from James Duke, in his book “The Green Pharmacy,” are preventing tooth decay, treating arthritis, asthma, athlete’s foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue syndrome, colds and flu, cough, dandruff, depression, emphysema, fungal infections, gingivitis, gout, heartburn, HIV infection, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, prostate enlargement, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendonitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, viral infections and yeast infections.
I feel the same as this author who wrote on Licorice, “Licorice can be recommended for just about everybody, for male and female alike, young and old, well or sick. It is the grand tonic of the world, in this author’s opinion. For that reason, I recommend it as an important tonic in the maintenance of the musculoskeletal system. The amazing anti-inflammatory actions of licorice root extend to the entire surface area of the body, both outside and inside. Not only the skin, but the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract yield to the soothing and healing action of licorice root. The plant reinforces the body’s ability to withstand attack from virtually any kind of pathogen, and should therefore be considered a tonic for the musculoskeletal system. If one is looking for a broad-spectrum tonic to protect, maintain health, and heal injuries, there is no herb better than licorice root.”
The simplest formula for any irritation in the whole digestive tract, from the throat to the colon, is 1 part powdered Licorice root to 3 parts powdered Slipper Elm, slowly mixed with water to a gruel-like consistency. Take ¼ cup 4 times a day so that 1 cup of gruel has been consumed.
For a simple but effective cough syrup, dice up onions and cover with honey, add 1 ounce Licorice powder. Heat this mixture over a very low temperature or in a double boiler for 4 hours. Strain and add ¼ part of vegetable glycerin, which enhances its preservation power as well as adding healing properties of its own. Take it by the spoonful as needed. A stimulating herb such as cayenne or ginger can be added to intensify the effects.
Dr Shook gives a good basic formula for a decoction or glyceride of Licorice root: 4 ounces of cut licorice root to 3 pints of distilled water. Simmer the roots in the water slowly for 20 minutes. Strain off the liquid and simmer again, until the volume is reduced to three-fourths of a pint. Add 4 ounces pure vegetable glycerin and mix well. Cool then bottle in dark bottles and store in a cool place.
One of our former students always traveled with a small bottle of concentrated licorice root extract on his person. He took several drops of the extract throughout the day to maintain his high energy level. A couple we know prepares a few quarts of licorice root tea to take along on a cross-country automobile trip. They sip it occasionally so they can remain alert throughout the journey.