Plants> <Radix Glycyrrhizae>
Radix Glycyrrhizae consists of the dried roots and rhizomes of Glycyrrhiza
glabra L. and its varieties or of Gycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch. (Fabaceae).
Liquiritae officinalis Moench is a synonym of Glyeyrrhiza glabra L.
Clycyrrhiza glabra L. and its varieties
Adimaduram, akarmanis, asloosoos, aslussos, athimaduram, athimaduramu,
athimathuram,bekh-e-mahak, bois doux, cha em thet, estamee, gancao, glycyrrhiza,
herbe aux tanneurs, hsi-pan-ya-kan-tsao, irk al hiel, irk al hilou, irksos,
jakyakgamcho-tang, jashtimadhu, jethimadh, jethimadha, kanpo, kanzo, kan-ts'ao,
kum cho, Lakritzenwurzel, licorice, licorice root, liquiritiae radix,
liquorice, liquorice root, madhuyashti, madhuyashti rasayama, mulathee,
muleti, mulhatti, neekhiyu, persian licorice, racine de reglisse, racine
douce, reglisse, reglisse officinalis, rhizoma glycyrrhizae, Russian licorice,
Russian liquorice, Russisches Sussholz, si-pei, sinkiang licorice, Spanish
licorice, Spanish liquorice, Spanisches Sussholz, Sussholzwurzel, sweet
root, sweetwoof, ud al sus, velmi, walmee, welmii, xi-bei, yashti, yashtimadhu,
Chinese licorice, Chinese liquorice, gancao, kan-ts'ao, kanzo, kanzoh,
licorice root, liquiritiae radix, north-eastern Chinese licorice, saihokukanzoh,
tohoku kanzo, tongpei licorice, tung-pei-kan-tsao, Ural liquorice, uraru-kanzo.
Glycyrrhiza glabra L. and it varieties
A perennial plant, up to more than 1m in height, erect, with highly developed
stoloniferous roots. Leaves compound, 9-17 aternate impairpinnate
leafltes, oblong to elliptical-lanceolate, acute or obtuse; racemes loose,
shorter than the leaves or a little longer. Flowers 1cm long.
Flapods oblong to linear, 1-3 cm long by 6mm wide, more or less densely
echinate glandular, many-seeded or abbreviated, 2 or 3 seeded.
A perennial glandular herb, 30-100cm high. Stem erect, with short
whitish hairs and echinate glandular hairs; the lower part of the stem
is woody. Leaves alternate, imparipinnate; leaflets, ovate-celliptical,
2-55cm long by 1-3 cm wide; apex obtuse-rounded; base rounded; both surfaces
covered with glandular hairs and short hairs. Stipules lanceolate.
Inflorescence an axillary cluster. Flowers purplish, pailionaceous;
calyx villous. Fruit a flat pod, oblong, sometimes falcate, 6-9mm
wide, densely covered with brownish echinate glandular hairs. Seeds
2-8. The root is cylindrical, fibrous, flexible, 20-22cm long and
15mm in diameter, with or without cork, cork reddish, furrowed, light
material of interest: dried root and rhizome
Glycyrrhiza glabra L. and its varieties
The commercial variety, G. glabra var. typica Regel & Herd, known
as Spanish liquorice, consists generally of roots and rhizomes in nearly
cylindrical pieces, up to 1 m long and 5-20 mm in diameter; externally,
the bark is brownish grey to dark brown, longitudinally wrinkled, occasionally
bearing small dark buds in rhizomes or small circular or transverse rootlet-scars
in roots. The peeled root is yellow, smooth, fibrous, finely striated;
fracture, fibrous in the bark and splintery in the wood; internally, brigh.t
yellow: A distinct cambium ring separates the yellowish grey bark from
the finely radiate yellow wood; central pIth, only in rhizomes.
The commercial variety,
G. glabra var. glandulifera (Wald et Kit) Regel & Herd, known as Russian
liquorice, consists mainly of roots, in cylindrical pieces somewhat tapering
and sometimes longitudinally split; 15-40cm long. 1-5cm in diameter. The
enlarged crown of the root may attain up to 10cm in diameter; externally,
the unpeeled root purplish brown, somewhat scaly, with stem scars at the
top; the peeled root yellowish, coarsely striated; fracture as for Spanish
type; internally, yellow, radiating .
The roots and rhizomes are cylindrical, fibrous, flexible, 20-100cm long.
0.6- 3.5 cm in diameter, with or without cork. Externally reddish brown
or greyish brown, longitudinally wrinkled, furrowed, lenticellate, and
with sparse rootlct scars. Texture compact, fracture slightly fibrous,
yellowish white, starchy; cambium ring distinct, rays radiate, some with
clefts. Rhizomes cylindrical. externally with bud scars, pith present
in the centre of fracture.
Odour slight and characteristic; taste, very sweet.
In transverse section the cork is thick, brown or purplish brown, formed
of several layers of flattened polygonal thin-walled cells; cortex of
phelloderm in root somewhat narrow, yellow fibres of parenchyma cells
contain isolated prisms of calcium oxalate; phloem, wide, yellow, traversed
by numerous wavy parenchymatous medullary rays, 1-8 cells wide and consisting
of numerous radial groups of fibres, each surrounded bya crystal sheath
of parenchyma cells. Each cell usually contains a prism of calcium oxalate
and Jayers of parenchyma alternating with sieve tissue, the latter occasionally
obliterated, arpearing as .. refractive irregular structures; phloem fibres,
very long, with very narrow lumen ; and strongly thickened stratified
walls which are cellulosic in the inner part of the phloem and slightly
lignified in the outer; xylem, yellow, distinctly radiate; xylem rays,
consisting of small pale yellow parenchyma. groups of fibres similar to
those of the phloem but more lignified, and surrounded by crystal-sheath.
tracheids, and large wide lumen vessels, 80-200Ám in diameter, with thick
yellow reticulate walls or with numerous oval bordered pits with slit-shaped
openings. Other parenchyma cells contain small round or oval starch granules.
Pith, only in rhizome, dark yellow, parenchymatous. Root, with 4-arch
primary xylem, no pith and shows 4 broad primary medullary rays, radiating
from thc centre at right angles to one another. In peeled liquorice, the
cork, cortex, and sometimes part of the phloem are absent.
Light yellow in the peeled or brownish yellow or purplish brown in thc
unpeeled root. Characterized by the numerous fragments of the fibres accompanied
by crystal-sheath, the fibres 8-25Ám. mostly 10-15Ám, in diameter; dark
yellow fragments of vessels, 80-200Ám in diameter, containing solitary
prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate, free or in cells 10-35Ám (mostly
15-25Ám) long; numerous simple oval, round or fusiform starch granules,
frec or in parenchyma cells, with no striation but occasionally -showing
hilum. 2-20Ám (mostly about 10Ám) in diameter: cork may be present.
Native to central and south-western Asia and the Mediterrancan region.
It is cultivated in the Mediterranean basin of Africa, in southern Europe,
and in India.
Northern China Mongolia, and Siberia.
Macroscopic, microscopic, and microchemical examinations; and thin-layer
chromatographic analysis for the presence of glycyrrhizin.
The test for Salmonella spp. in Radix Glycyrrhizae products should be
negative. The maximum acceptable limits of other microorganisms
are as follows. For preparation of decoction: acrobic bacteria-not more
than 10 2/g; fungi-not more than.10 5 /g;Escherichia coli-not more than
10 2/g. Preparations for internal use: aerobic bacteria-not more than
10 5 g or ml; fungi-not more 10 4/g or ml; fungi--not more than 10 4/g
or ml; enterobacteria and certain Gram-negative bacteria-not more than
10 3/g or ml; Escherichia coli --0/g or ml.
Not more than 7%.
Not more than 2%.
Not more than 10%
Not less than 20%.
Not less than 25%.
To be established in accordance with national requirements. Normally,
the maximum residue limit of aldrin and dieldrin for Radix Glycyrrhizae
is not more than 0.05mg/kg. For other pesticides, see WHO guidelines
on quality control methods for medicinal plants guidelines for predicting
dietary intake of pesticide residues.
Recommended lead and cadmium levels are no more than 10 and 0.3mg/kg.
respectively, in the final dosage form of the plant material.
For analysis of strontium-90, iodine-131, caesium-134, caesium-137, and
plutonium-239, see WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal
Alcohol-soluble extractive, chemical, and foreign organic matter tests
to be established in accordance with national requirements.
Assay for glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic acid, glycyrrhizinic acid) content
(at least 4%) by means of spectrophotometric, thin-layer chromatographic
densitometric or high-performance liquid chromatographic methods.
The major constituents are triterpene saponins. Glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic
acid, glycyrrhizinic acid) is the major component (2-9%); minor components
occur in proportions that vary depending on the specides and geographical
location. Glycyrrhizin occurs as a mixture of potassium and calcium
salts. It is a monodesmoside, which on hydrolysis releases two molecules
of D-glucuronic acid and the aglycone glycyrrhetic (glycyrrhetinic)
acid (enoxolone). Glycyrrhizin is generally regarded as the active
principle of Radix Glycyrrhizae and is responsible for its sweetness,
which is 50 times that of sucrose. Flavonoid constituents include
liquiritigenin and isoliquiritigenin.
Crude plant material, dried extract and liquid extract. Store in
a well-closed container, protected from light and moisture.
Uses supported by clinical data
described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine.
As a demulcent in the treatment of sore throats, and as an expectorant
in the treatment of coughs and bronchial catarrh. Also in the prophylaxis
and treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and dysppsia. As an
anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of allergic reactions, rheumatism
and arthritis, to prevent liver toxicity, and to treat tuberculosis and
described in folk medicine, not supported by experimental or clinical
As a laxative, emmenagogue, contraceptive, galactagogue, antiasthmatic
drug, and antiviral agent. In the treatment of dental caries, kidney
stones, heart disease, "consumption", epilepsy, loss of appetite,
appendicitis, dissniness, tetanus, diphtheria, snake bite, and haemorrhoids.
The demulcent action of the drug is due primarily to glycyrrhizin.
The antitussive and expectorant properties of the drug have also been
attributed to glycyrrhizin, which accelerates tracheal mucus secretion.
The antiulcer activity
of Radix Glycyrrhizae has been demonstrated both experimentally and clinically.
Intraperitoneal, intraduodenal, or oral administration of aqueous or alcoholic
extracts of Radix Glycyrrhizae reduced gastric secretions in rats, and
it inhibited the formation of gastric ulcers induced by pyloric ligation,
aspirin, and ibunprofen. Glycyrrhizin and its aglycone (glycyrrhetic
acid, enoxolone), two of the active constituents of Radix Glycyrrhizae,
both have antiphlogistic activity and increase the rate of mucus secretion
by the gastric mucosa. Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (97% of glycyrrhizin
is removed) effectively treated stress-induced ulcers in animal models.
The mechanism of antiulcer activity involves acceleration of mucin excretion
through increasing they synthesis of glycoprotein at the gastric mucosa,
prolonging the life of the epithelial cells, and antipepsin activity.
The spasmolytic activity
of Radix Glycyrrhizae has been demonstrated in vivo (guinea-pig, rabbit,
and dog), and appears to be due to the flavonoids liquiritigenin and isoliquiritigenin.
the toxic action of carbon tetrachloride- and galactosamine-induced cytotoxicity
in cultured rat hepatocytes, through its f antioxidant activity. Glycyrrhizin
inhibited histamine rclease from rat mast cells and prevented carbon tetrachloride-induced
liver lesions and macrophage-mediated cytotoxicity. Intragastric administration
of a flavonoid fraction isolated from Radix Glycyrrhizae to mice protected
against carbon tetrachloride hepatotoxicity. Glycyrrhizin protected the
liver apparently through its membrane stabilization effects.
and antiallergic actions of the dru,g have been attributed to the corticosteroid-like
activity of glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetic acid (enoxolone). These compounds
act indirectly by potentiating the activity of corticosteroids. In vitro,
glycyrrhetic acid inhibits ▀reductase, an enzyme that competitively inactivates
steroid hormones, and 11▀-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, the enzyme that
deactivates cortisol. Glycyrrhizin given intraperitoneally suppressed
contact dermatitis in mice, and was more effective than prednisolone,
but no effects were observed after oral administration.
In vitro, the drug
inhibits the growth of Bacillus subtilis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis,
Aspergillus spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and
Oral administration of Radix Glycyrrhizae to 15 patients with peptic ulcer
reduced symptoms and improved healing in 75% of the cases. Glycyrrhetic
acid (enoxolone), the active constituent, produced its antiulcer activity
inhibiting 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase and -prostaglandin reductase.
Inhibition of these two enzymes stimulated an increase in the concentration
of prostaglandins E and F 2 , in the stomach, which promoted the healing
of peptic ulcers owing to a cytoprotective effect on the gastric mucosa.
Carbenoxolone, a derivative of glycyrrhetic acid, has been used clinically
for years in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
of deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (380 mg, 3 times daily) to 169 patients
with chronic duodenal ulcers was as effective as antacid or cimetidine
treatments. These results indicate that, in addition to g]ycyrrhetic acid,
other unidentified constituents of Radix Glycyrrhizae contribute to its
Reports on the usefulness
of liquorice extracts on body fluid homeostasis in patients with Addison
disease are contradictory. One study found no positive effects, while
three other studies noted an increase in weight gain and sodium retention.
Radix Glycyrrhizae is contraindicated in patients with hypertension, cholestatic
disorders or cirrhosis of the liver, hypokalaemia, or chronic renal insufficiency,
and during pregnancy.
Prolonged use of large doses (>50 g/day) of the drug for extended periods
(>6 weeks) may increase water accumulation, causing swelling of the
hands and feet. Sodium excretion is reduced and potassium excretion is
increased. Blood pressure may rise.
Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be taken concurrently with corticosteroid
treatment. If sore throat or cough persists for more than 3 days, the
patient should consult a physician.
Because it increases potassium loss, Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be
administered for prolonged use with thiazide and loop diuretics or cardiac
glycosides. Because it reduccs sodium and water excretion, the effectiveness
of drugs used in the treatment of hypertension may be reduced. Radix Glycyrrhizae
should not be administered in conjunction with spironolactone or amiloride.
mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
Radix Glycyrrhizae is not mutagenic in vitro.
The drug is not teratogenic in animal models.
The safety of Radix Glycyrrhizae preparations during pregnancy has not
been established. As a precautionary measure the drug should not be used
The safety of Radix Glycyrrhizae preparations during lactation has not
been established. As a precautionary measure the drug should not
be used during lactation except on medical advice.
The safety and effectiveness of the drug in children have not been established.
No information available about drug and laboratory test interactions.
No adverse reactions have been associated with the drug when used within
the recommended dosage and treatment period.
Prolonged use (>6
weeks) of excessive doses (>50 g/day) can lead to pseudoaldosteronism,
which includes potassium depletion, sodium retention, oedema, hypertension,
and weight gain. In rare cases, myoglobinuria and myopathy can occur.
Unless otherwise prescribed, average daily dose of crude plant material,
5-15g, corresponding to 200-800 mg of glycyrrhizin. Doses of other preparations
should be calculated accordingly. Radix Glycyrrhizae should not be used
for longer than 4-6 weeks without medical advice.