Licorice is traditionally used as an antitussive, mucolytic and expectorant, as it increases tracheal mucus secretion.
Additionally as a treatment for gastric ulcers. Moreover, both the aqueous extracts and isolated polysaccharides from licorice root inhibit Helicobacter pylori adhesion to the stomach mucosa, a major cause of gastric ulcers. These polysaccharides also inhibit the adhesion of Porphyromonas gingivalis, bacteria present in periodontal diseases. Licorice extract has also been shown to have anti-adhesive activity against Campylobacter jejuni bacteria causing diarrhea and other intestinal disorders.
Another property is its anti-inflammatory effect, demonstrated in several experimental models.
The European Medicine Agency (EMA) approves its traditional use for the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms. Also as an expectorant for coughs associated with colds.
The ESCOP extends these indications, approving its use as an adjunct in the treatment of ulcers and gastritis. Also as an expectorant for colds and bronchial catarrh.