Mulethi (Licorice): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects Unveiled

By Rohini Mankar | 21st Nov 2022

Mulethi (Licorice): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects Unveiled

About Mulethi (Licorice): 

Since ancient times Indian traditional medicine system has promoted the use of different medicinal plants that enhance the Ojas. These medicinal plants can improve overall health. They act as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, immunity boosters etc. they help us get rid of the pile of toxins in our bodies. One such medicinal plant is Mulethi. 

Mulethi is scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra. It belongs to the Fabaceae family.  It is a short herb grown throughout the year and found in temperate zones. Also known as liquorice, is native to the Mediterranean region. The word Glycyrrhiza comes from a Greek word where glycol means sweet and rhiza means root.  

Ayurveda has described mulethi as a medicinal herb with multiple medicinal properties. Liquorice or mulethi also known as Yashtimashu in Ayurveda is considered to be the best home remedy for cold and cough. Several Ayurvedic scriptures have mentioned its medicinal properties like varna (improves skin complexion), kanthaya (improves voice quality), good for eyes, jeevanaya (promotes long life), and sandhanaya (healing of a fracture or wound healing). Mulethi is beneficial in pacifying aggravated pitta and Vata dosha. 

Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn is commonly known as Yashti-Madhu. 

What is Mulethi called in other languages

SanskritMadhukar
MarathiJeshtamadha
BengaliJashtimadhu, Jaishbomodhu
GujaratJethimadhu
TamilAtimaduram
TeluguAtimadhuranu, Yashtimadhukam
KannadaYastimadhuka, atimaddhura
HindiJothimadh, Mulhatti
EnglishLicorice, Liquorice, Sweet wood
MalayalamIratimadhuram
Mulethi called in other languages

Nutrients in Mulethi:

Mulethi is a natural sweet wood that includes several bioactive compounds. It contains flavonoids, tannin, amino acids, gums and essential oils. Mulethi or liquorice also contains several micronutrients like phosphorus, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, nitrogen and copper. Mulethi contains a bioactive compound that is 50 times sweeter than sugar.

Medicinal properties of Mulethi:

Multhi is reported to have a list of medicinal properties documented in the Ayurveda scriptures. 

  • Antioxidant activity- according to the researchers, liquorice contains several bioactive agents such as phenolic compounds and flavonoids that are effective in protecting against the oxidative action that tends to damage the skin. 
  • Antiinflammatory activity – mulethi is effective in reducing mouth and stomach ulcers significantly. It is also used in liver and renal complications due to its anti-inflammatory activity.  
  • Antitussive and expectorant: mulethi is beneficial in treating sore throat and cough. It helps to get rid of congestion and increases tracheal mucus secretion. 
  • Anti ulcerative – Mulethi contains saponins which are useful in treating duodenal and peptic ulcers. Another compound found in mulethi i.e. glycyrrhizin increases the secretion of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins activate stomach mucus secretion leading to the healing of ulcers.
  • Antimicrobial activity – Mulethi contains saponins, alkaloids, and flavonoids that inhibit bacterial growth and reduce the production of bacterial toxins. The antimicrobial and anti-bacterial properties of Mulethi inhibit the growth of bacteria which causes cavities and bad breath. Dried Mulethi powder can be used to brush our teeth and mouthwash thereby reducing plaque and keeping the gums and teeth healthy and strong. 
  • Antiviral activity – according to some studies, mulethi has shown antiviral properties against different viruses that includes herpes simplex, varicella zoster, Japanese encephalitis, influenza etc. it contains a triterpenoid compound that exhibits antiviral activity. It inhibits the replication of viruses and stimulates T lymphocyte production.  
  • Protects liver – Licorice extract has exhibited hepatoprotective activity. It protects the liver from drug-induced damage and has compounds that prevent one from liver cancer
  • Anti-carcinogenic – studies suggest that liquorice contains glycyrrhizic acid that induces apoptosis of tumour cells. It has been effective in the treatment of different types of cancers like breast, cervix, gastric, liver and ovarian cancer to name a few.
  • Neuroprotective activity – many studies have been conducted to find the effect of mulethi extracts on learning and memory.  According to two separate investigations carried out on mice where mice were orally administered with extracts of mulethi. It was found that mulethi demonstrated significant improvement in memory and learning. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of mulethi extract can contribute to reducing brain damage and improving memory in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. 
  • Acts as an antidepressant – Mulethi can be used for treating depressive disorders as it has shown significant antidepressant effects in a study. Extracts of mulethi increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in mice according to the study. 
  • Effect of mulethi extract on Skin: mulethi has exhibited anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and UV protection of the skin. Flavonoids present in Mulethi treat skin eruptions including eczema cysts. It contains glabrene, a compound that prevents the formation of melanin thus acting as a skin-lightening agent. Also, the hydro-alcoholic extracts of mulethi promote hair growth. 
  • Other benefits are –
    • Liquorice decreases serum testosterone levels in women and is beneficial in aplastic anaemia. 
    • Mulethi is beneficial in reducing the size of the thrombus thus suggesting that it reduces hypercoagulative activity.
    • Liquorice stimulates the immune system.
    • Prevents osteoporosis
    • Regulates blood sugar levels and protects the heart. 

How to take the Mulethi:

  1. Have Licorice powder along with honey, it is beneficial in alleviating anaemia.
  2. Consuming Jeshthamadh by mixing it with cow’s milk, promotes lactation. 
  3. Mixing 10 g jeshthamadh powder with honey followed by intake of milk improves brain activity.
  4. Apply warm ghee mixed with liquorice on wounds, bruises and burns
  5. Applying mulethi powder along with a spoon full of rose water and sandalwood powder can give you radiant skin.
  6. You can add mulethi while preparing tea which can give relief in the cold. 
  7. Mulethi powder can be used to brush teeth and used as a mouthwash.

Side effects:

Overconsumption of liquorice can cause hypertension, oedema and hypokalaemia. Some of the bioactive compounds (Glycyrrhetic acid and liquorice saponins) can cause hyper-mineralocorticoids, an increase in sodium levels and a reduction in potassium levels. Also, women may experience bloating during their premenstrual syndrome. Always consult your doctor in case you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  

Conclusion:

Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn (Mulethi) has demonstrated potential therapeutic effects like antibacterial, anticancer, anticoagulant, antifungal, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antioxidant, antitussive and expectorant, antiulcer, antiviral, hepatoprotective, immunomodulator, memory enhancing and skin lightening effects. Thus, looking at its wide range of medicinal properties it can be utilised to prepare pharmaceutical products that have the least side effects as compared to the allopathic medicines in the market. 

However, you should always consult a doctor before consuming ayurvedic medicines. You can get free teleconsultation from our expert doctors on our online pharmacy – Truemeds or you can also download our Truemeds app. You can avail of branded as well as generic medicines by uploading your prescription on Truemeds. When placing an order for medicines online, you may save more money by selecting alternative or generic medicine that is advised by Truemed’s expert doctors. You can also save up to 72% on your purchase and get free home delivery pan India. 

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