Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

Glycyrrhiza glabra L.


Botanical Name:                  Glycyrrhiza glabra L.Glycyrrhiza-glabra-L.1

Synonym:                              Glycyrrhiza violaceae Boiss.

Kingdom:                              Plantae

Order:                                     Fabales

Family:                                   Fabaceae

Genus:                                   Glycyrrhiza

Sindhi Name:                       Molethi

Species:                                 G. glabra

Local Name:                         Muleti

English Name:                     Licorice

Part Used:                             Peeled and unpeeled root.


Glycyrrhiza glabra L. is a perennial, 90-150 cm tall and non-climbing herb. Root bark is dark brown and wood is tan yellow in color.1, 2 Leaves are compound and alternate in pairs. Flowers are violet in color, 1 cm long, and present in slender axillary spikes. Legumes are about 1.2 cm long, compressed, and flattened.3, 5, 6


G. glabra is widely found in Europe, Asia, China, Africa, and Iran. In Pakistan, it is native to Baluchistan, Punjab, and Jammu Kashmir regions of Pakistan.1, 2

 Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:


G. glabra ash is mixed in mustard oil, and applied topically for the treatment of scabies in District Tharparker and Khairpur (Sindh).


Ground paste of Emblica ribes L. (Indian gooseberry), Phaseolus vulgaris L. (French bean), and G. glabra is applied twice a day for at least 10 days on the infected area of impetigo and leishmaniasis in District Sanghar (Sindh).


Tablet made from Emblica ribes L. (Indian gooseberry), Phaseolus vulgaris L. (French bean), and G. glabra is taken once daily for the treatment of leprosy in District Sanghar (Sindh).


Main constituent of G. glabra is “glycyrrhizin”, a saponin-like glycoside. Roots contain glycyrrhetinic acid, rhamnoglucside, tri-terpenoid-liquoric acid, β-sitosterol, and stigmasterol. Licorice also contains herniarin, umbelliferone, flavones-liquiritin, isoflavones, coumarins, liquiritigenin, and lignans.2, 5, 7, 8  


Chemical Structures:




Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:

Roots and rhizomes of G. glabra are demulcent, expectorant, and memory enhancer. Plant exhibited anti-inflammatory, antihepatotoxic, antiviral, antiallergic, antidepressant, antipyretic, antiulcer, and antibacterial activities. It is also used for the treatment of throat congestion, cough, respiratory disorders, skin inflammations, and boils.1, 2 Root is used in drugs for strengthening muscles and bones. It also cures wounds and abdominal pain. Licorice is also used for the treatment of addison’s disease, cancers, tumors, epilepsy, dermatitis, and hypertension.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


  • Umberto Quattrocchi, F. L. S. (2012), CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants, 3, p. 356, CRC Press, New York.
  • Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 199-200, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt. Ltd. 66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
  • Rehman, M. (2006), A Pictorial Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 211, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar.
  • Khare, C. P. (2007), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 290, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
  • Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, p. 409-410, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110 035, India.
  • Pullaiah, T. (2006), Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants, V. 2 p. 1019, Regency Publishers, New Delhi, India.
  • Saxena, S. (2005). Glycyrrhiza glabra: Medicine over the millennium. Journal of Natural Products Radiance, 4(5), 358–367.
  • Sherif, EA., Dina, M. S, S. A. M. and Sanaa, A. M. (2013). Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Chemical composition and Biological impacts. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, 4(3), 606–621.