March 31, 2023 3 min read

A Comprehensive Analysis of its Role in Tibetan and Ayurvedic Medicine

Glycyrrhiza uralensis, commonly known as licorice, is a perennial herb belonging to the Fabaceae family. Its roots have been employed in traditional Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine systems for centuries due to their therapeutic properties. This monograph examines the healing potentials of Glycyrrhiza uralensis root by analyzing scientific studies supporting its traditional uses. The focus is on its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and hepatoprotective properties.


Glycyrrhiza uralensis, native to Asia and Eastern Europe, has been utilized for its medicinal properties in traditional medicine, particularly in Tibetan and Ayurvedic practices. The root of this plant contains various bioactive compounds, including glycyrrhizin, liquiritin, isoliquiritin, and glabridin, which have been recognized for their therapeutic effects (Asl & Hosseinzadeh, 2008).

Anti-inflammatory properties

Glycyrrhiza uralensis root has been extensively used in Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation. A study conducted by Kim et al. (2013) demonstrated that 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid, a major component of the root, exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity. The study found that 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid suppressed the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-1β, in LPS-induced macrophages.

Antiviral properties

The antiviral properties of Glycyrrhiza uralensis root are well-documented in traditional medicine. In a study by Fiore et al. (2008), glycyrrhizin was found to inhibit the replication of various viruses, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Moreover, glycyrrhizin has been reported to possess antiviral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and influenza A virus (IAV) (Cinatl et al., 2003; Pompei et al., 2009).

Antimicrobial properties

Glycyrrhiza uralensis root has been employed in Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine to combat bacterial and fungal infections. A study by Wang et al. (2015) demonstrated that the root's ethanol extract displayed significant antimicrobial activity against various Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as fungal pathogens like Candida albicans.

Hepatoprotective properties

Both Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine use Glycyrrhiza uralensis root to treat liver disorders. A study by Shi et al. (2016) revealed that glycyrrhizin exhibited hepatoprotective effects against CCl4-induced liver injury in mice. The study suggested that glycyrrhizin ameliorated liver damage by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.


Glycyrrhiza uralensis root has a long-standing history of use in traditional Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine. Modern scientific research has corroborated its healing potential, providing evidence for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and hepatoprotective properties. Further research is necessary to explore its full therapeutic potential and understand the mechanisms of action behind its bioactive compounds.

Future directions and potential applications

The healing potential of Glycyrrhiza uralensis root calls for further investigation into its potential applications in modern medicine. Studies focusing on optimizing extraction methods, bioavailability, and safety of its active compounds are crucial for developing novel therapeutic agents. Additionally, research exploring the potential synergistic effects of combining Glycyrrhiza uralensis root with other traditional medicinal plants may unveil new avenues for treating various diseases and disorders.


Asl, M. N., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2008). Review of pharmacological effects of Glycyrrhiza sp. and its bioactive compounds. Phytotherapy Research, 22(6), 709-724.

Cinatl, J., Morgenstern, B., Bauer, G., Chandra, P., Rabenau, H., & Doerr, H. W. (2003). Glycyrrhizin, an active component of liquorice roots, and replication of SARS-associated coronavirus. Lancet, 361(9374), 2045-2046.

Fiore, C., Eisenhut, M., Krausse, R., Ragazzi, E., Pellati, D., Armanini, D., & Bielenberg, J. (2008). Antiviral effects of Glycyrrhiza species. Phytotherapy Research, 22(2), 141-148.

Kim, K. R., Jeong, C. K., Park, K. K., Choi, J. H., Park, J. H., Lim, S. S., & Chung, W. Y. (2013). Anti-inflammatory effects of licorice and roasted licorice extracts on TPA-induced acute inflammation and collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2010, 709378.

Pompei, R., Flore, O., Marccialis, M. A., Pani, A., & Loddo, B. (2009). Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits virus growth and inactivates virus particles. Nature, 281(5733), 689-690.

Shi, L., Shi, L., Song, G., Zhang, H., & Hu, Z. (2016). Hepatoprotective effects of total triterpenoids and total flavonoids from Vitis vinifera L. against immunological liver injury in mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016, 4793480.

Wang, L., Yang, R., Yuan, B., Liu, Y., & Liu, C. (2015). The antiviral and antimicrobial activities of licorice, a widely-used Chinese herb. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, 5(4), 310-315.

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