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Licorice Root (Gancao)

Pharmaceutical Name:

Radix Glycyrrhizae

Botanical Name:

Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.
Glycyrrhiza inflata Bat.
Glycyrrhiza glabra L.

Common Name:

Licorice root

Source of Earliest Record:

Shennong Bencao Jing

Part Used & Method for Pharmaceutical Preparations:

The rhizomes are dug in spring or autumn.  After the fibrous roots and bark have been removed, the rhizomes are cut into slices and dried in the sun.

Properties and Taste:

Sweet and neutral

Meridians:

Heart, lung, spleen and stomach

Functions:

To tonify the spleen and replenish qi
To moisten the lungs and stop coughing
To relax spasms and stop pain
To moderate the action of herbs
To reduce fire and release toxins

Indications and Combinations:

1.     Deficient qi of the spleen and stomach manifested as poor appetite, loose stool and lassitude.
*Use with White atractylodes (Baizhu), Poria (Fuling) and Ginseng (Renshen) in the formula Sijunzi Tang.

2.     Cough and asthma.
*Use wi
th Apricot seed (Xingren) and Ephedra (Mahuang) in the formula Sanniu Tang.

3.     Carbuncles, furuncles, sore throat and swelling due toxic heat.

        *Use with Platycodon root (Jiegeng), Scrophularia (Xuanshen) and Arctium fruit (Niubangzi) for sore throat

        *Use with Honeysuckle flower (Jinyinhua) and Forsythia fruit (Lianqiao) for carbuncles, furuncles and swellings.

4.      Abdominal pain due to spasms of the stomach or intestines.
*Use with White peony root (Baishao).

5.     Moderating the action of other herbs. 
*
For example, use with Prepared aconite root (Fuzi) and Dried ginger (Ganjiang) can weaken the heating properties and lessen the side effects of some herbs.  This combination is called Sini Tang.

Dosage:

2-10 g

Cautions:

This herb is contraindicated during cases of excess dampness causing distension and fullness in the chest and abdominal region, or vomiting.  It counteracts Peking spurge root (Daji), Genkwa flower (Yuanhua), Kansui root (Gansui) and Seaweed (Haizao).  Prolonged overdosing of the herb may cause edema.