Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Licorice: Medical Uses Licorice has been used for peptic ulcer disease, canker sores, and cough. It is used topically for eczema, psoriasis, and herpes. Historical Uses Historically, licorice has been used as a flavoring agent in candy, tobacco, and soft drinks. Licorice syrup was used as a cough remedy. For years, licorice root has been valued in Germany and China and in Ayurvedic medicine. Growth Licorice comes from a small shrub that grows in temperate climates. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • Glycyrrhizin • Flavonoids • Phenolic compounds • Glicophenone • Glicoisoflavone • Phytosterols • Coumarins () Licorice: Clinical Uses Licorice has been used for peptic ulcer disease, canker sores, cough, and chronic fatigue syndrome (under supervision). It is used topically for eczema, psoriasis, and herpes. It is also used for its antibacterial activity and its antiparasitic, antitumor, and estrogenic activity. It may be used for anti-HIV effects. Mechanism of Action Licorice does not inhibit the release of gastric acid, but rather stimulates normal defense mechanisms by improving blood supply, increasing the amount and quality of substances that line the intestinal Read more […]


DIURETICS are used to reduce fluid in the body by increasing the excretion of electrolytes by the kidney — so increasing urine production. They have an extensive use. Reducing oedema is, in itself, of benefit in some disorders, and diuretics may be used in acute pulmonary oedema, congestive heart failure, some liver and kidney disease, glaucoma and in certain electrolyte disturbances, such as hypercalcaemia and hyperkalcaemia. The commonest use of diuretics is in antihypertensive therapy, where their action of reducing oedema is of value in reducing the load on the heart, which then — over some days or weeks — gives way to a beneficial reduction in blood pressure (that seems associated with vasodilator action). See ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS. In relation to their specific actions and uses, diuretics can be divided into a number of distinct classes. Osmotic diuretics (e.g. mannitol, urea) are inert compounds that are secreted into the proximal tubules of the kidney, and are not reabsorbed, so carry salts and water with them into the urine. Loop diuretics (e.g. ethacrynic acid, bumetanide, frusemide) have a vigorous action on the ascending tubules of the loop of Henle (inhibiting resorption of sodium and water, Read more […]

Sex Herbs

The following herbs are used to improve sexual function: • Anise imitates the female hormone estrogen, increasing sexual intensity and satisfaction • Epimedium, a Chinese herb, has a testosterone-like substance and enhances a woman’s sexual desire • Fenugreek augments breast size and is used to elevate sex drive • Fennel prolongs orgasm, allowing men to enjoy sex for a longer period of time • Guarana seed tea has aphrodisiac effect • Quebracho (in South America) and Sheng Jing (in China) are used in male infertility and erectile dysfunction (impotence) Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition defined by the inability to attain or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse. In 1995, it was estimated that approximately 152 million men worldwide suffered from erectile dysfunction, with projections for 2025 growing to a prevalence of 322 million affected men. In the past, erectile dysfunction was believed to be caused by nonspecific psychological causes; however, in the past two decades, the majority of cases have been attributed to an organic etiology. Although erectile dysfunction patients can have a number of medical conditions, organic erectile dysfunction Read more […]


ATPase INHIBITORS are inhibitors of ATP-driven transporter systems in the body, including Na+/K+-ATPase, H+/K+-ATPase and Ca2+-ATPase. Some are important sites of drug action and will be described from a functional, rather than a biochemical or structural viewpoint. The Na+/K+-ATPase of the cell membrane, which constitutes the Na+/K+ pump, is the main site at which cardiac glycosides act. They bind to the K+-binding site, thus inhibiting the enzyme, and this inhibition, through a series of interrelated actions, eventually affects cardiac rhythm and the force of contraction is increased. These are the principal beneficial actions. Examples include digoxin, digitoxin and ouabain. See cardiac glycosides. The Na+/K+/2Cl- transport system in the thick ascending loop of Henle in the kidney is a major site of action of diuretics. Here there is active reabsorption of sodium chloride, not accompanied by water, which reduces the osmolarity of the tubular fluid and makes the interstitial fluid of the medulla hypertonic. Sodium and chloride move into the cell by a cotransport system involving Na+,K+,2Cl-, a process driven by the electrochemical gradient for sodium produced by the Na+/K+-ATPase in the basolateral membrane. Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Liquorice

Qycyrrhiza glabra L. (Fabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Licorice. Spanish and Italian liquorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra var typica Reg. et Herd. Persian or Turkish liquorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra L var violacea Boiss. Russian liquorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra L var glanduli-fera. Chinese liquorice is the closely related Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., also known as Gancao. Pharmacopoeias Licorice (US Ph 32); Liquorice (British Ph 2009); Liquorice Dry Extract for Flavouring Purposes (British Ph 2009); Liquorice Liquid Extract (British Ph 2009); Liquorice Root (European Ph 2008); Liquorice Root for use in THM (British Ph 2009); Powdered Licorice (US Ph 32); Powdered Licorice Extract (US Ph 32); Processed Liquorice Root for use in THMP (British Ph 2009); Standardised Liquorice Ethanolic Liquid Extract (British Ph 2009, European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents Liquorice has a great number of active compounds of different classes that act in different ways. The most important constituents are usually considered to be the oleanane-type triterpenes, mainly glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhizinic acid), to which it is usually standardised, and its aglycone glycyrrhetinic Read more […]


ALDOSTERONE ANTAGONISTS are used mainly as DIURETICS to reduce fluid in the body by increasing the excretion of electrolytes and water by the kidney, so increasing urine production. They work by blocking the action of the endogenous MINERALOCORTICOID hormone aldosterone, and this makes them suitable for treating oedema associated with aldosteronism, liver failure, ascites caused by cirrhosis of the liver, hypertension and certain heart conditions. Examples of clinically used oral aldosterone antagonists are potassium canrenoate and spironolactone. They are relatively potassium-sparing’ diuretics which cause relative retention of potassium, and this makes them suitable for combination with some of the other diuretic classes that cause K+-loss, particularly the thiazides.


ANTIHYPERTENSIVE AGENTS are used to reduce high blood pressure when it is raised in disease, though such drugs are not necessarily hypotensive (i.e. they may not lower blood pressure in normotensive subjects). Hypertension is an elevation of arterial blood pressure above the normal range expected in a particular age group, sex etc. It can have several different causes, which to some extent determine the treatment. Above certain values, after making lifestyle corrections, intervention with drug therapy may reduce the risk of heart attacks, kidney failure or a stroke, and may help in the treatment of angina pectoris. There are several large groups of drugs used as antihypertensives, each with a specific mode of action. DIURETICS are in common use as antihypertensives, and often a mild diuretic may be all that is required: e.g. amiloride. chtorothiazide, ethacrynic acid, frusemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone, triamterene. Beta-blockers, of which there are many, may be used if further treatment is necessary, with or without simultaneous administration of a diuretic: e.g. acebutolol, oxprenolol, propranolol and sotalol. See β-ADRENOCEPTOR ANTAGONISTS. Other antihypertensive drugs work as antisympathetic Read more […]