YASTIMADHU, botanically named as "Glycyrrhiza glabra" is a genus of perennial herbs and undershrubs distributed in the sub-tropicalnd warm temperate regions of the world. The root of the said herb has been used in India since time immemorial.
Liquorice (Yastimadhu) is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in India and also in abroad. The root of Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) contains a substance called glycyrrhizin which is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Sugar, as we know it today, is a relatively new development 400 years ago, the only sweet tastes came from fruit and honey. The extreme sweetness of liquorice (Yastimadhu) made it a real oddity and people loved it. Due to its peculiar sweetness, liquorice was used in many medicines to mask the unpleasant taste of the other ingredients. This is a still common practice in India today and many parts of the world.
Botanical Name : Glycyrrhiza glabra
Sanskrit -- Yashtimadhu
Hindi -- Mulethi
English -- Liquorice or Sweetwood
Bio energetics:Rasa (Taste)- Madhura (Sweet)
Guna (Characteristics)- Heavy and slightly oily.
Veerya (Potency)- Sheeta (cold)
Vipaka (Post digestion effect)- Madhura (Sweet)
Actions on Doshas - Reduces Vata and Pitta, may increase Kapha.
Parts Used : Roots
Chemical Constituents :The principal constituent of liquorice root is - glycyrrhizin. Root contains 3.6% glycyrrhizin, a yellow amorphous powder-asparagine, a glycoside isoliquirtin 2.2%, glucose 3.8%, starch, gum, mucilage, amorphous, sulphuric acid and metallic acids, calcium and meganesium salts.
Properties and Medicinal Uses of Yastimadhu :
Yashtimadhu (Liquorice) possesses a wide range of medicinal properties.
Effects on Respiratory System - It is excellent emollient and hence used in cough, asthma and hoarseness of voice. If taken as lozenges it gives soothing effect on the throat as well as for pharynx. it to be demulcent, emollient, expectorant and useful in cough and chest afflictions. it is used to treat coughs, laryngitis, sore throat, bronchitis and chronic bronchitis.
Liquorice possesses Anti-inflammatory properties. In fact liquorice anti-inflammatory abilities are so strong that they are used to heal all manner of irritated tissue be they inside or outside the body. The action is very much like that of a steroid such as cortisone. The good news with this steroid-like actions that it does not come packing the immuno-suppressing side effects of chemically synthesized steroids. People who are attempting to get the steroid may often used liquorice to help in their bodies off the drugs.
Ayurvedic literature describes liquorice as a Rasayana (Rejuvenating) herb for Rasayana for Pranavaha and Majjavaha srotas.
Effects on Reproductive System :Male reproductive system consists of eight sex related organs, viz testes, epididymides, deferent ducts, seminal vesicles, ejaculatory ducts, prostate gland, penis and urethra. These organs help in maintaining a good sexual life and also associates in fertilization process with the sex partner. Various herbs put a remarkable effect on this system. Liquorice root (Yastimadhu) is considered as one of the best herbal medicines in this regard.
Liquorice root improves sperm count as well as semen viscosity like curculigo orchiodies. Additionally minimizes the inflammation and irritation of the urethra which can be consequence of coitus. Liquorice root also heals promptly any minor injuries which may have occurred during forceful intercourse. Liquorice root also possesses a cooling and demulcent effect on the genitourinary system which helps in the after orgasm phase.
Herbal Anti-Oxidant : The antioxidant properties present in the liquorice root checks cholesterol build-up in arteries that contributes to arteriosclerosis by delaying oxidation and by making density lipoprotein more resistant to oxidation process.
Effects on Digestive System : For relieving pain and discomfort caused by acrid matter in the stomach, it is wonderful. It seems to remove the irritating effects of acids in a better way than alkalies, it is used as a mild laxative. It is Useful for healing the gastric or duodenal ulcers and is also useful in diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis. In these diseases it can be used as one of the ingredients of decoction enema. For duodenal ulcers it should be given in dose of 1 to 3 gm. with powder of shatavari and amalaki for one month.
Today while learning and practicing Ayurveda and alternative medicine ; the knowledge of the Healing Herbs described in Ayurveda is very important.
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Yashtimadhu(Liquorice) Toxicity and Contra-indication :
The U.S. Food and Drug administration has rated liquorice (Yastimadhu) "Generally recognized as safe" So, one can use as much soothing liquorice tea as desired.
Liquorice and Drug Interactions:
- Cardiac glycosides: Licorice may potentiate toxicity.
- Insulin: Licorice may have a synergistic effect possibly causing hypokalemia and sodium retention with concomitant use .
- Anticoagulants: Licorice may increase the metabolism and clearance of warfarin.
- MAO-inhibitors (MAO-I): Licorice may potentiate activity of MAO-Is
- P-Glycoprotein (P-gp) substrates: Licorice inhibited P-gp, resulting in increased intracellular concentration of the chemo agent daunorubicin, which is a substrate of P-gp
- Cytochrome P450 substrates: Glycyrrhizin, a major ingredient of licorice, induces CYP3A and CYP2D6 , and can affect the intracellular concentration of drugs metabolized by this enzyme.
- Cyclosporine: Licorice greatly reduced the oral bioavailability of cyclosporine by activating P-gp and CYP3A4 .
- Cortisol acetate:Licorice increased cortisol availability in tissues in the hours following oral Cortisone acetate administration