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Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antitumor, antispasmodic, antiviral, immunomodulatory1–3

Important Chemical Components:

Glycyrrhiza glabra: glycyrrhizin, also known as glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizinic acid (a triterpenoid saponin glycoside), 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, polysaccharides, and various polyphenols (such as the isoflavone formononetin and the prenylated isoflavonoid glabridin as well as liquiritin, isoliquiritin, isoliquiritigenin, and liquiritigenin)4,5

Glycyrrhiza inflata: phenols, namely licochalcone A, lico-chalcone B, licochalcone C, licochalcone D, licochalcone E, echinatin, and isoliquiritigenin5,6

Glycyrrhiza uralensis: phenylflavonoids, such as dehydroglyasperin C, dehydroglyasperin D, isoangustone A; glycyrrhetinic acid; and the benzofuran courmarin glycyrol7

Origin Classification:

This ingredient is natural. Many organic choices exist.

Personal Care Category:

Anti-inflammatory, antiaging, skin lightening

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:

DSNT, DSPT, DSNT, DSNW, OSNT, OSNW, OSPT, and OSPW. This ingredient is an optimal choice for sensitive pigmented types.


Licorice (also spelled as “liquorice”) is best known in its popular confectionery form of black or red candy. Although it is not often thought of as a plant, it is derived from the roots and rhizomes of multiple Glycyrrhiza species and has been used in systemic and topical herbal medications for approximately 4,000 years (Table 67-1). In fact, licorice is one of the oldest and most popular herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), second only to ginseng.8–10 Members of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family (better known as the legume, pea, or bean family), Glycyrrhiza glabra (also known as Liquiritiae officinalis) and G. inflata are the species that have displayed the most therapeutic actions among the 18 known Glycyrrhiza species, with G. glabra the most used since antiquity. G. inflata is actually the Chinese licorice root, while G. glabra grows around the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, and central and southern Russia.11 The Roman physician of Greek extraction Pedanius Dioscorides, who practiced in the 1st century CE, is credited with bestowing the botanical name of the plant based on the Greek glukos (sweet) and riza (root).7,12,13 The Latin name “Liquiritiae” is a corruption of the Greek “Glycyrrhiza.”12

TABLE 67-1Pros and Cons of Licorice Extract

G. glabra is a perennial herb that originated on the land surrounding the Mediterranean Sea as well as central and southern Russia and the Middle East.11 Licorice is now cultivated throughout much of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, though, and is also used globally as a pharmacologic agent,14 particularly as an effective anti-inflammatory product.15 In addition to anti-inflammatory potency, licorice root is believed to possess antiviral, antiulcer, and anticarcinogenic properties.10 In China, licorice ...

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