by Mishelle Knuteson, M.H.

Licorice is one of the more widely consumed herbs in the world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb because it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs.  Dr Christopher stressed that we should not procrastinate in obtaining adequate supplies of Licorice root. He stated, “We import tons of it from the Middle East every year for commercial medications and the Licorice candy industry. If there was to be a transportation strike it would cripple the nation’s economy and people would bemoan the fact that the herb could no longer be obtained.”  He stated that if we are in the climate to grow it in our yards that we should.

Licorice is very soothing and softens the mucous membranes of the throat, lungs, stomach, intestines, and at the same time cleanses any inflamed mucous membrane that needs immune system support. This is why Licorice is found in so many cough and sore throat medications. It reduces the irritation in the throat and yet has an expectorant action. It is the saponins (detergent-like action) that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can expel the mucus.  It is a potent healing agent for tuberculosis, where its effects have been compared to hydrocortisone. For colds and flu, Licorice can be combined with stimulating herbs such as cayenne or ginger to intensify the effect. For sore throat and irritated bronchials, Licorice is more effective when combined with Horehound or Mullein.

Licorice also has a soothing and healing effect on the stomach and digestive tract. It softens, soothes, lubricates and nourishes the entire intestinal tract with a formula as simple as 40% Licorice root and 60% Slippery Elm.