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yashtimadhu - Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.

yashtimadhu :

yashtimadhu  : Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.
In addition to possessing anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties, it can help enhance your memory and stimulate your immune system. It also has hepato-protective, anti-cancer, and anticoagulant properties.

Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn is one of the most extensively used medicinal herb from the ancient medical history of Ayurveda.

It is also used as a flavoring herb. 

The liquorice plant is a herbaceous perennial legume native to the Middle East, southern Europe, and parts of Asia, such as India


Therapeutic use of licorice dates back to the Roman Empire. 
The Greek physician Hippocrates (460 BC) and botanist Theophratus (371 BC) extolled its uses, and Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (23 AD) recommended it as an expectorant and carminative. 
Licorice also figures prominently in Chinese herbal medicine. 
It is used in modern medicinals chiefly as a flavoring agent that masks bitter agents, such as quinine, and in cough and cold preparations for its expectorant activity. 
Most licorice candy in the United States is actually flavored with anise, not licorice. 
A sample of licorice from 756 AD was analyzed and found to still contain detectable active principles after 1,200 years

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Glycyrrhiza
Species: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Allied species:

Glycyrrhiza aspera
Glycyrrhiza echinata Wild Liquorice, Chinese licorice
Glycyrrhiza lepidota American Liquorice
Glycyrrhiza malensis
Glycyrrhiza uralensis Gan Cao
Polypodium glycyrrhiza Licorice Fern


Sanskrit: yastyahvasya, yashtimadhu, madhuka, yashti, madhur, atirasa, saumya, shoshapaha, jalaja, madhuparni, madhuyashti
English: licorice (root) sweet wood
Hindi: Mulethi, Jethimadhu
Urdu: Mulethi, Asl-us-sus
Telugu: Yashtimadhukam
Bengali: Yashtimadhu
Marathi: Jeshtimadh
Oriya: Jatimadhu, Jastimadhu
Gujarathi: Jethimadh
Tamil: Atimadhuram, Irattimadhuram
Malayalam: Atimadhuram, irattimadhuram
Kannada: Atimadhura, Jeshtamadhu
Punjabi: Jethimadh, Mulathi
Arabic: Shagaret es-sus Erqsus
Assamese: Jesthimadhu, Yeshtmadhu
French: : Reglisse, Reglisse glabre, Reglisse Officinale


Licorice comprises about 20 species of sticky, sometimes hairy perennial herbs with creeping rootstalk. One of the most common types used medicinally is Glycyrrhiza glabra (glykys, the Greek word for “sweet,” rhiza for “root,” and glabra from the Latin for “smooth”). 


·       The word Glycyrrhiza is derived from the Greek term glykos (meaning sweet) and rhiza (meaning root).


·       Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn, commonly known as ‘liquorice’ and ‘sweet wood’ 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: yastyahvasya, yashtimadhu, madhuka, yashti, madhur, atirasa, saumya, shoshapaha, jalaja, madhuparni, madhuyashti

The word "liquorice" is derived (via the Old French licoresse) from the Greek γλυκύρριζα (glukurrhiza), meaning "sweet root",[8] from γλυκύς (glukus), "sweet"[9] and ῥίζα (rhiza), "root",[10][11] the name provided by Dioscorides.[12] It is usually spelled "liquorice" in Commonwealth usage, but "licorice" in the United States.

यष्टीमधु तथा यष्टीमधुकं क्लीतकं तथा | 
अन्यत्क्लीतनकं तत्तु भवेत्तोये मधूलिका ||१२८|| 
यष्टी हिमा गुरुः स्वाद्वी चक्षुष्या बलवर्णकृत् | 
सुस्निग्धा शुकला केश्या स्वर्या पित्तानिलास्रजित् | 
घ्राणशोथविषच्छर्दितृष्णाग्लानिक्षयापहा ||१२९|| 

Rasa: Madhura
Guna: Guru Picchila
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Maduram
Karma: Pittahara Vatahara

Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is commonly known as mulethi and mostly available in Indian Kitchen.

Health benefits of Yastimadhu are described in Ayurveda many years ago.

This herb has a Soothing effect on the throat and pharynx is good so the use of Yastimadhu is good for hoarseness of voice.

This herb has the antacid, anti-ulcer genic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants, anti-Alzheimer, anti-cancer, analgesic, immune modulator, anti-bacterial, anti-asthmatic, anti-arthritic and aphrodisiac properties.

Roots of this herb contain 3.6% glycyrrhizin which is a yellow amorphous powder-asparagine, a glycoside isoliquirtin 2.2%, glucose 3.8%, starch, gum, mucilage, amorphous, sulphuric acid and metallic acids, calcium and magnesium salts.

All these ingredients are packed with healing properties for the human body.

   Liquorice flavours are used as candies or sweeteners, particularly in some European and Middle Eastern countries.


Requires a deep well cultivated fertile moisture-retentive soil for good root production


Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings.


Harvesting takes place in autumn after the foliage
has dried.


Standardisation of Licorice by Metabolomic Profiling of Flavanones and Chalcones


The principal constituent of liquorice to which it owes its characteristic sweet taste is glycyrrhizin, which is present in different varieties in a concentration of 2-14%.

This principle is not found in the aerial parts of the plant.

Other constituents present in liquorice are:

·         glucose (up to 3.8%),

·         sucrose (2.4-6.5%),

·         mannite, starch ( 30% ),

·         asparagine,

·         bitter principles,

·         resins (2-4%),

·         a volatile oil (0.03-0.035%) and

·         coloring matter.


v  The yellow color is due to the anthoxanthin glycoside, iso liquiritin which, undergoes partial conversion to liquiritin during drying and storage of roots.

v  Iso liquiritin gives on hydrolysis iso liquiritigenin,

v  while liquiritin gives liquiritigenin as a glucone.

v  Both iso liquiritin and liquiritin are bitter with a sweet after-taste and stimulate the salivary glands.

v  Commercial samples contain c. 2.2% of iso liquiritin.

v  A steroid estrogen, possibly estriol, is also reported to be present in liquorice.

v  The presence in the inner bark of a hemolytically active saponin has been reported1.

v  The plant contains phytoestrogens in the form of isoflavones such as formononetin; glabrone, neoliquiritin and hispaglabridin A & B.


Glycyrrhizin, a glycoside obtained from G. glabra was studied for its anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory effect on formaldehyde induced rat-paw edema in adrenalectomised rats.

It was found to potentiate the anti-arthritic action of hydrocortisone in rats

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Leaves, Root, ,


Licorice is available in various forms

– root, powder and extracts.


·       Licorice root can be chewed directly

·       while licorice tea (prepared by boiling licorice root in water) is also extremely beneficial as a home remedy.


v Daily intake of 5-6 grams of licorice powder is considered safe

v while 250-500 mg of concentrated extracts can be taken thrice a day.



Treatment is supportive including correction of electrolytes.


Purification of high-purity glycyrrhizin from licorice using hydrophilic interaction solid phase extraction coupled with preparative reversed-phase liquid chromatography.


gunja root


The common adulterant is wild licorice also called Indian licorice, derived from the root of Abrus precatorius (Leguminosae). The root is very toxic due to an alkaloid abrine and therefore should not be used in place of licorice.

The root possesses a peculiar disagreeable Odour and bitter acrid flavour leaving faintly sweet after taste. Microscopically the adulterants are characterized by stone cells.


De-glycyrrhinized licorice has been investigated for its clinical use and saftey. Its use has been controversial. 
There is 2-9% glycyrrhizin in licorice root. 
The de-glycyrrhinized root extract has a maximum of 3% glycyrrhizin in it.

Commercial value:

Consumption of licorice root is expected to rise in the coming years in the pharmaceutical industry owing to its inherent herbal properties


It is a hardy herb or undershrub; the leaves are multifoliolate, imparipinnate; the flowers are in axillary spikes, papilionaceous, lavender to violet in colour; the pods are compressed and contain reniform seeds. The rootstock, which is stout, throws off a large number of perennial roots. The dried, peeled or unpeeled underground stems and roots constitute the drug known in the trade as Licorice.

Leaves, stem and root:

The plant is a herbaceous perennial. It is 1 to 2 m high and has a long sturdy primary taproot.

The taproot is 15 cm long and subdivides into 3 to 5 subsidary roots, 1.25 m in length.

There are several horizontal woody stolons which may reach 8 m.

New stems are produced every year.

They are sturdy, erect, branched either from the base or from further up, and are generally rough at the top.

The foliage leaves are alternate, odd pinnate and 10 to 20 cm long.

The leaflets are in 3 to 8 pairs.

The stipules are very small and drooping.

Flower and fruit:

The axillary inflorescences are upright, spike-like and 10 to 15 cm long.

The individual flowers are 1 to 1.5 cm long, bluish to pale violet and short-pedicled.

 The calyx is short, bellshaped and glandular-haired.

The tips of the calyx are longer than the tube, and are pointed lanceolate.

Petals are narrow, the carina petals are not fused, and they are pointed but not beaked.

The fruit is a pod, 1.5 to 2.5 cm long, and 4 to 6 mm wide.

It is erect and splayed, flat with thick sutures, glabrous, somewhat reticulate-pitted, and usually has 3 to 5 brown, reniform seeds


Transverse section of stolon more or less rounded. Phellem severeal layered with tabular cells; outer layers filled with reddish brown contents, inner colourless. Phellogen indistinct; phelloderm three to five layered, collenchymatous; some of the cells contain calcium oxalate and minute starch grains. Secondary phloem with numerous concentrically arranged bundles of phloem fibres and surrounded by a parenchymatous sheath containing prisms of calcium oxalate. Medullary rays distinct, bi-to multiseriate, parenchymatous, in continuation with those of xylem. The rays are narrower in xylem and wider in phloem region. Xylem consists of vessels, fibres and lignified wood parenchyma. The unpeeled drug shows the presence of polyhedral tubular brownish cork cells. In case of stolons, the pith is present and is parenchymatous. The root is characterized by the presence of tetrarch xylem and absence of pith.


Powder: It shows plenty of starch grains, hexagonal crystals vessel elements are with reticulate wall pitting."

Geographical distribution:

Local: Bahariyah and Siwa oases 
Regional: Mediterranean region and Middle East countries. 
Global: Native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia. It is cultivated worldwide.


Liquorice enjoys fertile, sandy or clay soil near a river or stream where enough water is available for the plant to flourish in the wild, or under cultivation where it can be irrigated.

Plant conservation:

Widely distributed in Eurasia, Glycyrrhiza glabra is not considered to be threatened. Where it is cultivated as a crop, it is normally harvested in a sustainable manner, although there are some concerns that the commercial harvest of rhizomes can be destructive to naturally occurring populations and their habitats

General Use:

·         It is known to be an effective herb to resolve the respiratory complications. It acts as the wonderful emollient and it has the soothing effects on the throat as well as pharynx. Hence the use of this herb is quite good in the treatment of a cough, hoarseness of voice, chest congestion, sore throat, bronchitis, chronic bronchitis, and whooping cough. This herb helps to boost up the immune system and plays an important role in the treatment of asthma and various allergic reactions in the body.

·         Roots of this herb support the good health of digestive system. This herb helps to lower down the acid levels in intestine. It is quite good to manage the problem of the indigestion and heartburn. Hence the use of this herb is quite effective in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), duodenal ulcers, peptic ulcers, and gastritis.

·         This herb supports the good health of the liver and also enhances the bile secretion. Moreover, this herb helps to lower the cholesterol levels in the body too.

·         This herb is good for the treatment of hypothyroidism. It helps to increase the secretion of thyroid hormones. Furthermore, this herb also helps to manage the hormonal imbalances.

·         Roost of this herb contains a substance which prevents the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is the hormone which stimulates cell division in the male prostate gland. Hence this herb is quite good to reduce the size of the prostate gland and also helps to manage the symptoms associated with benign enlargement of the prostate.

·         This herb is packed with anti-microbial activities. Hence it boosts up the bodys immune system. It also increases the bodys ability to fight against the various viral and bacterial infections. Anti-fungal properties of this herbs are quite good in the treatment of athletes foot.

Therapeutic Uses:


Allergic rhinitis 

or hay fever

Brain & Mind Health

Depression, emotional stress,

 memory loss

Digestive Health

Acidity, Chronic Gastritis, 

Canker sores, Constipation, 

duodenal ulcer, gingivitis, 

heartburn, indigestion, peptic ulcer, 

mouth ulcer, tooth decay, 

Ulcerative colitis, hepatitis and 

inflammation of gallbladder,

Heart Health

High Cholesterol level


Addison’s disease

Joint, Muscle & Bones

Arthritis, Bursitis, 

Fibromyalgia, Gout

Respiratory Health

Cough, Asthma, 


Skin & Hairs

Baldness, Eczema, 



General Indications

General debility, Chronic Fatigue, 

 Physical exhaustion


Athlete’s foot, Intestinal infections, Conjunctivitis, sore throat

Women Health

Menopause, Excessive uterine bleeding,

Men Health

Prostate enlargement

Systemic Use:

The main beneficial effects of Mulethi (Yashtimadhu) are on digestive system and respiratory system. 

It helps in relieving gastric symptoms such as heartburn, burning sensation in the abdomen, peptic and duodenal ulcer, abdominal colic, GERD and chronic gastritis.


1.      It is mainly used in the form of powder, may be used in the amount range from 5 to 6 grams per day.

2.      It is also used in the form of concentrated extracts may be used in the amounts ranging from 250–500 mg three times a day.

3.      People also enjoy Licorice tea. It has pleasant taste and no need to add sugar.

Yashtimadhu Powder - Twice Daily with Water, Lukewarm Milk or as recommended by physician

·       Best Time to Take: Before Meal in abdominal diseases like gastritis, ulcer etc.


1.   Anti-tussive & expectorant activity

2.   Antioxidant activity

3.   Skin lightening and skin tightening activity

4.   Anti-inflammatory activity - Liquorice has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic activity and

·       can be used to treat chronic inflammation like rheumatic problems & arthritis, skin diseases and autoimmune diseases.

·       It is also used for preventing any inflammatory conditions related to eye and

·        also to treat conjunctivitis with the help of glycyrrhizin activity that counteracts negative effects caused by cortisol.

5.   Anti-viral effects

6.   Anti-fungal activity - Roots of mulethi are very effective in protecting against virus, bacteria and fungi due to the presence of Glycyrrhizin that blocks the microbial growth.

7.   Anti-bacterial Activity

8.   Anti-malarial activity -  The root extract possesses the power to control malaria (as per preliminary research), influenza and also helps in the treatment of herpes resulting in virus suppression and severity of sores.

9.   Anti hyperglycemic activity

10.  Immuno stimulatory effects –

·       Root extracts of mulethi aids in increasing the production of lymphocytes and macrophage thereby improving your defense mechanism & preventing microbial attack.

·       It also helps in minimizing immune related allergic reactions and autoimmune complications.


11.  Memory enhancing activity –

·       Roots of licorice exert supportive effect on the adrenal gland and thus indirectly aid in stimulating the brain.

·       It not only decreases the effects of amnesia & improves learning but its antioxidant property (mulethi contains flavonoids) renders a shielding effect on the brain cells.

12. Hepatoprotective activity –

·       Licorice is one of the most common traditional remedy used to treat jaundice.

·       Its antioxidant property is the key for preventing your liver from the action of free radicals and toxic materials.

·       This herb is also reported to exhibit protection against diclofenac induced toxicity and also, in inhibiting damage of liver.

13.  Anticoagulant - Glycyrrhizin is the first plant based inhibitor of thrombin.

·       It is found to prolong the thrombin and fibrinogen clotting time.

·       It also increases plasma recalcification duration.

·       Glycyrrhizin causes inhibition in thrombin induced platelet aggregation

       14.  Hair growth stimulatory activity - The hydro-alcoholic extract of liquorice showed good hair growth promoting activity.

Clinical trials:

Glycyrrhizin—a compound found in licorice root—has been tested in a few clinical trials in hepatitis C patients, but there’s currently not enough evidence to determine if it’s helpful. Laboratory studies done in Japan (where an injectable glycyrrhizin compound is used in people with chronic hepatitis C who do not respond to conventional treatment) suggest that glycyrrhizin may have some effect against hepatitis C.
There’s some evidence that topical licorice extract may improve skin rash symptoms, such as redness, swelling, and itching.
A Finnish study of mothers and their young children suggested that eating a lot of actual licorice root during pregnancy may harm a child’s developing brain, leading to reasoning and behavioral issues, such as attention problems, rule-breaking, and aggression.
Studies of licorice root extracts in people for cavities, mouth ulcers, and oral yeast infections have returned mixed results.


Properties of glycyrrhizin are under preliminary research, such as for hepatitis C or topical treatment of psoriasis, but the low quality of studies as of 2017 prevents conclusions about efficacy and safety.


not known

Toxicity studies:

Its major dose-limiting toxicities are corticosteroid in nature, 

Use in other system of medicine:

In China, licorice is considered a superior balancing or harmonizing agent and is added to numerous herbal formulas. 
It is used to soothe coughs and reduce inflammation, soothe and heal ulcers and stomach inflammation, control blood sugar, and balance hormones.
 Licorice is great for healing canker sores and cold sores (herpes simplex virus). 
Licorice is a potent antiviral agent and can be used to treat flu, herpes, and even hepatitis.
Licorice is also a strong anti-inflammatory agent and can be used to improve the flavor of other herbs. 
With all of these uses, it is no wonder that licorice finds its way into so many therapies.



 1.  Amrutadha taila I Taila Vatarakta, kshatakshina, kampa, akshepa Ch.chi.29/109 

2.  Amrutaprashaghrita I Ghrita Kshatksheena Ch.chi.11/36 

3.  Anutaila I Taila Nasyakarma 

4.  Anuvasanayamaka basti I Taila Bruhana,vatapittagna 

5.  Apatyakari sasthikadi gutika I Gutika Vajikaranakarma Ch.chi.2/2-5 

6.  Asthama veganashaka yoga I Gutika Visha–Astham vegnashaka Ch.chi.23/52 

7.  Bhallatakadhaghrita I Ghrita Kaphaja Gulma Ch.chi.5/145 

8.  Bijakaristha I Arishtha Pandu Ch.chi.16/109 

9.  Brahmarasayana I Avaleha Rasayanakarma Ch.chi.1/1-49 

10.  Bruhanigutika I Gutika Vajikaranakarma Ch.chi.2/1-27 

11.  Bruhatashatavarighrita I Ghrita Pittaja Yoniroga, shukradosha, vrushya, kshata-kshaya, raktapitta Ch.chi.30/66 

12.  Chandanadhataila E Taila Dahayukta Jwara Ch.chi.3/258 

13.  Chandanadi niruhabasti I Kashaya Daha, atisara, pradara 

14.  Dhumavarti I Varti Shirashoola, Gaurava 

15.  Dwitiya Brahmarasayana I Avaleha Rasayanakarma Ch.chi.1/1-58 

16.  Eladigutika I Gutika Urakshata, kasa, shwasa Ch.chi.11/21 

17.  Erandamuladi niruhabasti I Kashaya Deepana, lekhana 

18.  Guduchyadi Niruhabasti I Kwatha Jwara Ch.chi.3/247 

19.  Guduchyadi taila I Taila Vatarakta Ch.chi.29/121 

20.  Guduchyadi taila E Taila Vataja Yoniroga Ch.chi.30/59 

21.  Haridradighrita I Ghrita Pandu, kamala Ch.chi.16/53 

22.  Haritkiyoga (Pancham) I Ghruta Rasayanakarma Ch.chi.1/1-76 

23.  Haritkiyoga (Sastha) I Ghruta Rasayanakarma Ch.chi.1/1-77 

24. Amrutadi ghrita I Ghrita Vatarakta 

25.  Amrutahya taila I Taila Vatarakta 

26.  Bhadravaha ghrita I Ghrita Ushnavata 

27.  Bruhtyadi kwatha I Kwatha Kruchhadoshatrayapaha 

28.  Darvi taila E Taila Medhra-roge abhyanga 

29.  Dashanga lepa E Lepa Visarpa, visha, visphota 

30.  Dashanga lepa E Lepa Visarpa, kushtha, jwara

Glycyrrhiza  glabra,  also  known  as  sweet wood,  belonging  to  family Fabaceae/Leguminaceae  is  native  to  the Mediterranean  and certain  areas  of Asia.  .

ü  Glycyrrhizin  a  pentacyclic  triterpenoid  β-amyrin  compound,  accounts  for  the  sweet taste  of  liquorice  root. 

ü  This  compound represents a mixture  of  potassium-calcium-magnesium salts  of glycyrrhizinic  acid that varies  within  a  2-25%  range. 

ü  Traditional applications across diverse  cultures  include as  both  a  demulcent  and  an  anti-inflammatory,  often  used  to  soothe respiratory  or  gastrointestinal  (GI) symptoms. 

ü  The  parts  of  G.  glabra  used traditionally is a prophylasis (for gastric and duodenal ulcers and in dyspepsia) in Indian system of medicine.

ü  It also recommended as a  laxative,  anti-anthalmentic  and  anti-viral agents.  It  also  exhibited  anti-inflammatory activity & can be used in Addison’s disease, arthritis  etc. 

ü  Both  the  traditional  & pharmacological effects of G. glabra may be  due  to  pharmaceutical  constituents (glycyrrhyzin  etc.). 

ü  Future  sophisticated techniques  may  help  to  explore  scientific proof which can help to prove its efficacy in commercial formulations

Ayurvedic Formulations:

Common Ayurvedic Formulations of yashtimadhu with their Indications
Brahma Rasayana
Sukumaram Kashayam
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KEY WORDS: Yastimadhu , Glycyrrhiza glabra , mulethi , licorice

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