Yashtimadhu -‘honey in the form of a stick’.

Liquorice is sweeter than the sweetest of agents.
Liquorice (licorice) has been known to pharmacists for thousands of years. In ancient Chinese pharmacy, it was used for its rejuvenating properties, especially when used for long periods. It was used to quench thirst, alleviate pain, cough and distress of breathing.
It is a tall, perennial under shrub about 1 m in height, with violet bunched flowers and fibrous chocolate brown roots, which are yellow inside. The root inside has a sweet and pleasant odour. It is commonly found in the North West part of the country and part of the plant used is the root.
Liquorice plays an important part in Ayurvedic system of medicine and is one of the principal drugs mentioned by shushruta. Liquorice is known as yashti madhu in Ayurveda and its botanical name is Glycyrrhiza glabra belonging to the family fabaeceae and, is better known as mulethi in Hindi.
Healing Power and Curative Properties of Liquorice
It is useful in the management if diseases resulting from aggravation of either pitta or vata or both.
Madhu yashti swadu rasa sheeta pitta vinashini
Vrishya shosha kshayahara visha chardi vinashini”   –   Dhanvantari nighantu.

  • It cures all pitta predominant diseases, improves voice, protects the gastro intestinal tract, and facilitates proper/ downward movement of vata (vata anulomana)
  • It increases sperm count or motility.
  • It pacifies cough, chest congestion, palpitation, peptic ulcer, vomiting, and eye diseases.
  • Certain alkaloids present in liquorice helps in relaxation of muscles.
  • Charaka praises it as a vitalising herb, a nervine tonic and a herb promoting longevity.

Classical Categorization

  1. Chardigna: herbs that relieve vomiting.
  2. Jeevaneeya: herbs that promotes longevity.
  3. Kanthya: herbs that improve voice.
  4. Varnya: herbs that improves complexion.
  5. Sandhaneeya: herbs that help in bone fracture healing and bone healing.
  6. Kandughna: herbs that relieve itching.
  7. Shonita sthapana: herbs that checks bleeding.
  8. Mutravirajaneeya: herbs that restore proper colour of urine.
  9. Vamanopaga: herbs that are used in vamana (panchakarma treatment).
  10. Asthapano paga: herbs that are used in basti (panchakarma).

Kakolyadi, sarivadi and anjanadi group of drugs
Sarivadi and anjandi group of drugs.
Medicinal  Uses of Liquorice

  1. In hoarseness of voice,  sore throat and feeble voice, chewing the sticks of yashtimadhu gives relief by soothing the inflammation.
  2. Powder of liquorice, curry leaves and turmeric mixed with honey and ghee and tied over ulcers, wounds and scalds cleanses them and facilitates easy healing.
  3.  Mixture of 5 grams of red sandal wood powder and liquorice powder has to be consumed daily along with milk to get relief from epistaxis / bleeding disorders and debility.
  4. Varachurnam is liquorice and triphala churnam mixed together. Mix this churnam with honey and ghee (in unequal quantity) and consume regularly. This is very beneficial in disorders of the eye (it increases vision), also in acidity, peptic ulcer.
  5. Equal quantity of powdered liquorice, giloy, dry ginger and katukarohini mixed with honey can be consumed daily to get beneficial results in arthritis.
  6. Lubricating the throat with a decoction of liquorice mixed with honey brings relief in dry cough.
  7. Liquorice is used in the treatment of myopia, half a tsp. of the powder of the root mixed with honey and ghee in unequal amount can be given twice daily with milk on an empty stomach in this case.
  8. Liquorice powder taken with jaggery and water relieves constipation.
  9. Taking an infusion of the roots soaked overnight relieves any chronic joint problems by alleviating muscular pains.
  10. Tiny bits of liquorice stick with sugar candy can be sucked to get relief in oral inflammations or the infusion can be used as a gargle.
  11. A paste of liquorice sticks mixed with sesame or mustard oil, if rubbed into a newly appearing corn at bedtime, softens the skin and it decreases in size.
  12. Mix a tsp. each of liquorice and sugar in water and drink from time to time to get relieved of flatulence.
  13. Make a decoction with a tsp. of liquorice powder and water and drink twice a day with some honey in case of anaemia.
  14. A tsp. of the powder should be consumed with milk and sugar twice a day by lactating mothers to increase production of milk.
  15. Powder liquorice sticks, pepper and ginger and fill the teeth cavities with this. It can also be used as a tooth powder.
  16. Boil ½ tsp. of liquorice in milk add sugar; make the child to drink this twice a day to improve overall development.
  17. Take a tsp. of liquorice powder with the juice of ash pumpkin for 3 days consecutively in case of epilepsy/ fits.

1-2 grams twice a day with milk/ghee/water.
Major Formulations

  • Yashtyadi churna
  • Yashti madhvadya taila
  • Kalyanaavaleha
  • Brihat ashwagandha ghrita
  • Shatavaryadi ghrita
  • Guduchyadi taila
  • Pippalyadi taila
  • Vyaghri taila

Continuous and uninterrupted use of liquorice in the treatment of stomach ulcer is not advisable as it may cause increase in eight and puffiness of body.
It should be avoided in pregnancy, heart and kidney diseases and for prolonged periods.
Avoid the use of liquorice in hypertension as it may lead to fluid retention.