Licorice–A Tasty Anti-Viral


Everyone has heard of licorice, at least in the context of candy. However, traditionally, licorice has been used as medicine especially in China. It has been used for easier breathing, thinning mucous and it turns out it might have some beneficial anti-viral properties. In a study done back in 2003, licorice showed activity against the SARS virus. Now, again, this is not a cure for covid-19 and we need large clinical trials, but if you like licorice, why not try it in moderation.

A couple of caveats. Licorice is not recommended for those who are on heart medication or have high blood pressure. It can cause your heart to beat faster or skip beats, so please take it in moderation. Also, many candies that say that they contain licorice don’t. Licorice is usually found in black candies not red ones. Read the label carefully and make sure it contains licorice. There’s a link to licorice that I like at my store link!

Here’s the abstract!

Lancet. 2003 Jun 14;361(9374):2045-6.
Glycyrrhizin, an active component of liquorice roots, and replication of SARS-associated coronavirus.
Cinatl J1, Morgenstern B, Bauer G, Chandra P, Rabenau H, Doerr HW.
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The outbreak of SARS warrants the search for antiviral compounds to treat the disease. At present, no specific treatment has been identified for SARS-associated coronavirus infection. We assessed the antiviral potential of ribavirin, 6-azauridine, pyrazofurin, mycophenolic acid, and glycyrrhizin against two clinical isolates of coronavirus (FFM-1 and FFM-2) from patients with SARS admitted to the clinical centre of Frankfurt University, Germany. Of all the compounds, glycyrrhizin was the most active in inhibiting replication of the SARS-associated virus. Our findings suggest that glycyrrhizin should be assessed for treatment of SARS.

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