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Liquorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a somewhat sweet flavor can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a legume that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is generally called as "Mulethi" in India. It belongs to the genus Glycyrrhiza and family Fabaceae. It is herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 centimeters long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 centimeters long, containing several seeds. The plant is cultivated in Punjab and sub-Himalayan tracts.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Glycyrrhiza glabra
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Yashtimadhuh, Madhuka Bengali : Jashtimadhu Gujarati : Jethimadhu Hindi : Jathimadh, Mulhatii Malayalam : Iratimadhuram Marathi : Jeshtamadhu Kannada : Yastimadhuka Tamil : Atimadhuram Telugu : Antimadhuramu
Chemical Constituents
Major constituents include Triterpenoid saponin- glycyrrhizin (2-20%), a mixture of potassium and calcium salts of glycyrrhizic (glycyrrhetinic) acid. The flavor of liquorice comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole, an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in several other herbs. Much of the sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound sweeter than sugar. It also includes other terpenoid saponins viz., glabranin A & B, glycyrrhetol, glabrolide, isoglabrolide, isoflavones viz., formononetin, glabrone, neoliquiritin, hispaglabridin A & B, coumarins viz., herniarin, umbelliferone, triterpene sterols viz., onocerin, -amyrin, stigmasterol.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content by specifying a quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the marker substances or the ‘active’ ingredient. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug.Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants.Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interact with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E.coli which are causative agent for various gastro-intestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersentivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
In the traditional system of medicine, the roots and rhizomes of Glycyrrhiza glabra have been in clinical use for centuries. Roots have demulcent, antacid, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, tonic, diuretic, laxative, and sedative properties. They also possess antipyretic, antimicrobial, antiherpes, and anxiolytic activities. Glycyrrhizin, a triterpene saponin, possesses antiviral activity. In the traditional system of medicine G. glabra also known as liquorice is recommended for the treatment of epilepsy. Glycyrrhiza glabra possesses potent demulcent, expectorant, and anti inflammatory properties and these are attributed to the presence of glycyrrhizin.The compound glycyrrhizic acid, found in liquorice, is now routinely used throughout Japan for the treatment and control of chronic viral hepatitis, and there is a possible transaminase-lowering effect. Hepatoprotective mechanisms have been demonstrated in mice. Recent studies indicate that glycyrrhizic acid disrupts latent Kaposi sarcoma, exhibiting a strong anti-viral effect. It inhibits Helicobacter pylori, is used as an aid for healing stomach and duodenal ulcers, and in moderate amounts may soothe an upset stomach. Studies of the use of liquorice extract (usually at 7%) in the treatment of melasma, a tan or dark skin discoloration generally observed in women during pregnancy has been shown that glabridin from liquorice inhibits tyrosinase activity of melanocytes and cures melasma.
Health Benefits
Glycerrhzin is 50 times sweeter than sucrose. Besides, glycyrrhizin is also credited with antihepatotoxic, antiviral and antibacterial activities. The drug is also beneficial in the treatment of peptic ulcer and deglycyrrhizinated liquorice while being substantially free from mineralocorticoid side effects of liquorice root is clinically effective for gastric and deudonal ulcers. It also indicates that in addition to glycyrrhetinic acid, other unidentified constituents of the drug contribute to the anti ulcer activity. A new compound named licoagrodione was isolated from the hairy root cultures of Glycyrrhiza glabra together with five known prenylated flavonoids. Licoagrodione was found to have antimicrobial activity indicated by disc diffusion method. Liquorice can be used to treat ileitis, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease as it is antispasmodic in the bowels.
Application in Cosmetics
An extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra is rich of natural antioxidants. The best natural antioxidants in extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra are glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic acid) and flavonoids. Glycyrrhiza glabra extract is obtained from the roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra by solvent extraction method and then concentrating the extract by rotary evaporator. Glycyrrhiza glabra extract is preserved by refrigeration and/or freezing. The role of Glycyrrhiza glabra extract on skin is mainly attributed to its antioxidant activity particularly to its potent antioxidants triterpene saponins and flavonoids. Skin whitening; skin depigmenting, skin lightening, antiaging, anti-erythemic, emollient, anti-acne and photo protection effects are mainly attributed to Glycyrrhiza glabra extract.
Research References
• Pubmed, a well known site has listed important studies going on around the world in various universities. These include….. 1. Quantification of glycyrrhizin in Glycyrrhiza glabra extract by validated HPTLC densitometry.(Gantait A, Pandit S, Nema NK, Mukjerjee PK.J AOAC Int. 2010 Mar-Apr;93(2):492-5.PMID: 20480894). 2. Protective effects of melatonin and Glycyrrhiza glabra extract on ochratoxin A-induced damages on testes in mature rats.(Malekinejad H, Mirzakhani N, Razi M, Cheraghi H, Alizadeh A, Dardmeh F.Hum Exp Toxicol. 2010 Apr 22. [Epub ahead of print]PMID: 20413560). 3. The licorice flavonoid isoliquiritigenin suppresses phorbol ester-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in the non-tumorigenic MCF-10A breast cell line.(Lau GT, Ye L, Leung LK.Planta Med. 2010 May;76(8):780-5. Epub 2009 Dec 23.PMID: 20033868). 4. Phenolics from Glycyrrhiza glabra roots and their PPAR-gamma ligand-binding activity.(Kuroda M, Mimaki Y, Honda S, Tanaka H, Yokota S, Mae T.Bioorg Med Chem. 2010 Jan 15;18(2):962-70. Epub 2009 Nov 26.PMID: 20022509). 5. Bioactive caffeic acid esters from Glycyrrhiza glabra.(Dey S, Deepak M, Setty M, D'Souza P, Agarwal A, Sangli GK.Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(18):1657-63.PMID: 19921583). 6. Licorice and licochalcone-A induce autophagy in LNCaP prostate cancer cells by suppression of Bcl-2 expression and the mTOR pathway.(Yo YT, Shieh GS, Hsu KF, Wu CL, Shiau AL.J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Sep 23;57(18):8266-73.PMID: 19711916). 7. A rapid screening method for prenylated flavonoids with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry in licorice root extracts.(Simons R, Vincken JP, Bakx EJ, Verbruggen MA, Gruppen H.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2009 Oct;23(19):3083-93.PMID: 19711301). 8. Aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from liquorice roots (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) inhibit adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric mucosa.(Wittschier N, Faller G, Hensel A.J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Sep 7;125(2):218-23. Epub 2009 Jul 14.PMID: 19607905). 9. Antiandrogenic activities of Glycyrrhiza glabra in male rats.(Zamansoltani F, Nassiri-Asl M, Sarookhani MR, Jahani-Hashemi H, Zangivand AA.Int J Androl. 2009 Aug;32(4):417-22.PMID: 19515171). 10. Evaluation of antigenotoxic activity of isoliquiritin apioside from Glycyrrhiza glabra L.(Kaur P, Kaur S, Kumar N, Singh B, Kumar S.Toxicol In Vitro. 2009 Jun;23(4):680-6. Epub 2009 Feb 6.PMID: 19490840). 11. Hepatoprotective and anti-hepatocarcinogenic effects of glycyrrhizin and matrine.(Wan XY, Luo M, Li XD, He P.Chem Biol Interact. 2009 Sep 14;181(1):15-9. Epub 2009 May 6.PMID: 19426721). 12. Evaluation of antioxidant and anti-atherogenic properties of Glycyrrhiza glabra root using in vitro models.(Visavadiya NP, Soni B, Dalwadi N.Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 2:135-49. Epub 2009 Apr 22.PMID: 19384750). 13. Antifungal activity of Glycyrrhiza glabra extracts and its active constituent glabridin.(Fatima A, Gupta VK, Luqman S, Negi AS, Kumar JK, Shanker K, Saikia D, Srivastava S, Darokar MP, Khanuja SP.Phytother Res. 2009 Aug;23(8):1190-3.PMID: 19170157). 14. Glycyrrhizic acid modulates t-BHP induced apoptosis in primary rat hepatocytes.(Tripathi M, Singh BK, Kakkar P.Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Feb;47(2):339-47. Epub 2008 Nov 30.PMID: 19084568). 15. Glycyrrhizin reduces secondary inflammatory process after spinal cord compression injury in mice.(Genovese T, Menegazzi M, Mazzon E, Crisafulli C, Di Paola R, Dal Bosco M, Zou Z, Suzuki H, Cuzzocrea S.Shock. 2009 Apr;31(4):367-75.PMID: 18665052). VARIOUS PRODUCTS 1) Liquorice Dry Extract- Premium, Standard and EC grade 2) Liquorice Soft Extract- Premium, Standard and EC grade 3) Liquorice Liquid Extract- Premium, Standard and EC grade 4) Liquorice Oil Soluble Extract- Premium, Standard and EC grade In all we have 12 varieties of Liquorice extracts.