Licorice is a herbaceous perennial legume copiously cultivated in many places worldwide. The Glycyrrhiza genus consists of about 30 species belonging to the family of Leguminosae.
Licorice is widely used as a sweetening and flavoring material in the food industry and as a de-bittering agent in the tobacco industry.
Recently, a group of researchers studied substances that are derived from the licorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra to determine if they could be used to prevent or stop the growth of prostate cancer. The study was published in the journal Pharmacological Research.
The researchers evaluated the licorice-derived substance called glycyrrhizin (GL) for preventing or treating cancer.
According to their study, the anticancer effects of GL involve modulating various signaling pathways that are involved in regulating cancer cell death, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
According to Dr. Munirathinam, GL has great potential as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent, but more research is needed into exactly how it could be best used to develop therapies.
Of course, not everyone should go and eat a bunch of licorice because it may affect their blood pressure, interact with some medications, and cause serious adverse effects if used excessively. But the occasional sweet treats of licorice candy or tea may be better options until there are more studies.
Rifika Jain, et al. Oncopreventive and oncotherapeutic potential of licorice triterpenoid compound glycyrrhizin and its derivatives: Molecular insights. Pharmacological Research, 2022; 178: 106138 DOI: 10.1016/j.phrs.2022.106138.
University of Illinois Chicago. “Researchers look to licorice for promising cancer treatments: Licorice-derived substance may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer effects.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/04/220406132005.htm>.