Sugar addiction is a subtle and insidious dependency that creeps up completely unnoticed. Unknowingly consumed in processed food or a seemingly harmless meal out, sugar is everywhere. In fact, the average American ingests 150 pounds of refined sugar a year — the equivalent of five tons throughout a lifetime. Don’t be fooled. Simply because sugar is a widespread, accepted substance, doesn’t mean it is anymore innocuous than morphine or heroin. It is just as addictive, if not more so. But there is hope. With a few dietary and lifestyle changes, sugar dependency can be tamed and healthy well-being restored. Continue reading
A new study indicates that dried licorice root is effective against the bacteria which causes tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can lead to tooth loss. Reporting their findings in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, researchers say that that two substances in dried licorice root may help prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease.
Traditional healing, modern science
The dried root of the licorice plant has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Practitioners of TCM use dried licorice root for a variety of health concerns: to treat coughs, ulcers, sore throat, arthritis, lupus, liver disorders, food poisoning and diabetes. Licorice is known by herbalists to possess antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The medicinally used root is not an ingredient in the licorice candy sold in the US which uses the similarly flavored anise oil. Continue reading
For those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), good news is often in short supply. Symptoms can be a nagging presence every day, with stomach pains and problems with constipation or diarrhea. It can also be somewhat tricky to treat IBS. Prescription meds don’t always help and sometimes they add prescription side effects on top of everything else. Well, here’s some side- effect free relief discovered by Australian researchers: slippery elm and licorice root.
The Aussie scientists looked at the effects and tolerability of two natural medicine supplements in improving bowel function and abdominal symptoms in patients with IBS. One supplement was designed to treat IBS with diarrhea as a symptom, while the other was designed to treat IBS with constipation.
The study included 31 patients, 21 one of whom were classified as suffering from diarrhea-predominant IBS and 10 of whom were classified with constipation-predominant IBS. The patients were given either a supplement containing powdered bilberry fruit, Continue reading
Traditional Chinese Medicine, steeped in 5,000-plus years of wisdom, is brimming with herbal remedies, food cures, acupuncture, and meditative exercises such as tai chi. In keeping with its strong reliance on food, Chinese medicine uses many fasts to enhance health, lift moods, cleanse the body, build strength, eliminate acid and mucus, and take the burden off of certain organs. Here are the first two of five fasts we’ll present, used in Asia for specific purposes.
It may take a visit to a Chinese medicine practitioner to fully understand your particular symptoms. Everyone would do well to get themselves checked out according to this style of medicine.
1. Raw Produce & Liquids
Nobody with symptoms of coldness or deficiency should attempt this diet. Symptoms of these include chills, white complexion, thin/watery mucus, hardened joints, difficulty bending and moving, weakness, shallow breathing, and overall frailty. Continue reading
The root of the licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra or Glycyrrhiza uralensis) has a long history of use in Eastern and Western systems of medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, licorice root is referred to as “gan zao.”
Uses of Licorice
In herbal medicine, licorice root is often combined with other botanicals to treat a range of health problems, including:
Benefits of Licorice
Although research on licorice’s health effects is limited, studies suggest that the herb may be helpful in the treatment of prevention the following conditions:
1) Canker Sores
In a 2008 study, scientists found that an adhesive patch medicated with licorice root extract helped heal canker sores (also known as “recurrent aphthous ulcers”). After seven days of treatment with licorice, study members had a significant decrease in ulcer size. Volunteers who received no treatment, on the other hand, saw their ulcer size increase by 13 percent.
2) Functional Dyspepsia
When used in combination with other herbs, licorice root may ease the pain of functional dyspepsia (a chronic condition marked by upper abdominal discomfort). In a 2004 study of 120 people with functional dyspepsia, 43.3 percent of participants treated with an herbal formula (containing bitter candy tuft, matricaria flower, peppermint, caraway, and lemon balm in addition to licorice root) had complete relief of symptoms after eight weeks (compared to just 3.3. percent in the placebo group).
3) Colorectal Cancer
In preliminary research published in 2009, researchers discovered that treatment with glycyrrhizic acid (a compound found in licorice) helped prevent colorectal cancer progression in mice predisposed to the disease.
What Is Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice?
In large amounts, licorice containing glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizin has been shown to cause high blood pressure and other adverse effects linked to heart problems (such as low potassium levels). Therefore, it’s important to use only deglycyrrhizinated licorice (or DGL) extract, from which glycyrrhizic acid has been removed.
Despite the findings that glycyrrhizic acid may help prevent colorectal cancer progression, deglycyrrhizinated licorice has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of a number of conditions (including canker sores and functional dyspepsia).
Is Licorice Safe?
Glycyrrhizin-containing licorice may interact with a number of drugs, including diuretics, insulin, laxatives, and blood-thinning medications.
Licorice should be avoided by people with renal of liver dysfunction, as well as by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
How to Use Licorice
Licorice products (including chewable tablets, capsules, tea, and powder) are available in most health-food stores.