Herb-Mulethi

Mulethi (Licorice/Yashtimadhu)
(Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Part Used: Roots & rhizome

Habitat:
It is distributed in Southern Europe, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Pakistan and Northern India. This plant is cultivated in Russia, UK, USA, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, China and Northern India (Punjab and Sub-Himalayan tracts). Large scale commercial cultivation is seen in Spain, Sicily and England.
Sharma et al Mintage journal of Pharmaceutical & Medical Sciencesǀ15-20, Vol 2 Issue 3, July – Sep 2013

Introduction:
G. glabra is commonly known as Licorice/Liquorice, Sweet wood, Mulethi and Yashtimadhu. This traditionally much valued plant is one among the four herbs mentioned in ‘Charaka Samhitha’ – An Ancient Indian Medical treatise, as “Medhya Rasayana” (drug promoting intellect and memory). Yastimadhu has been praised as an effective Medhya drug and mentioned as second best Medhya rasayana.
GJRMI, Volume 1, Issue 6, June 2012, 247–257

Ayurveda considers licorice to be a “rasayana” with implicated use in treatment of respiratory and digestive disorders. Licorice the most prescribed herb after Ginseng in Chinais used for ailments related to spleen, kidney & liver. Japanese use the herb as an antiviral agent.
Nat Pr Rad; Vol 4(5), Sep-Oct 2005

Mechanism of Action:

  • Glycyrrhiza glabra constituents also exhibit steroid-like anti-inflammatory activity, similar to the action of hydrocortisone. This is due, in part, to inhibition of phospolipase A2 activity, an enzyme critical to numerous inflammatory processes. Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits cycloxygenase activity and prostaglandin formulation as well as indirectly inhibiting platelet aggregation, all factors in the inflammatory process.
  • Glycyrrhiza glabra constituents possess significant antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. Glycyrrhizin and glabridin inhibit the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by neutrophils at the site of inflammation.
  • Glycyrrhizin lowers lipid peroxide values in animal models of liver injury caused by ischemia reperfusion.
  • Glycyrrhiza glabra constituents also exhibit hepatoprotective activity by lowering serum liver enzyme levels and improving tissue pathology in hepatitis patients.

Sharma et al Mintage journal of Pharmaceutical & Medical Sciencesǀ15-20, Vol 2 Issue 3, July – Sep 2013

Medicinal Uses:
Licorice roots are used for its demulcent and expectorant property. It is useful in anaemia, gout, asthma, sore throat, tonsillitis, flatulence, sexual debility, epilepsy, hyperdypsia, fever, coughs, skin diseases, swellings, hepatitis, and bronchitis.
ISSN 0975-6299, IJPBS, VOl 2/Issue 3/Jul-Sep 2011

Pharmacological Action:

Hepatoprotective - Glycyrrhizin induced a significant reduction in serum aminotransferases and improved the liver histology. Long-term usage of glycyrrhizin prevents development of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C. Studies have indicated that glycyrrhizin modifies the intracellular transport and suppresses hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen (HbsAg).

Anti-tussive & Expectorant – It is anti-tussive and expectorant loosening and helping to expel congestion in the upper respiratory tract as it accelerates tracheal mucus secretion.

Anti-bacterial & Anti-oxidant – Glycyrrhizin exhibits potent anti-bacterial and antioxidant activities. It is able to fight against bacterial infection & scavenging hydroxyl radical. It may be an important drug for prevention of bacterial infection and scavenging of hydroxyl radicals which are generated during carcinogenesis.

Immunomodulator - Glycyrrhiza glabra stimulate macrophages and hence elevate and assist immune stimulation. Glycyrrhizic acid present in the plant inhibits virus growth and inactivates virus particles is a potential source of immunomodulator.
Sharma et al Mintage journal of Pharmaceutical & Medical Sciencesǀ15-20, Vol 2 Issue 3, July – Sep 2013


Nootropic (Intellingence & Memory) - Yashtimadhu helps in improving memory and management of impaired learning, dementia, Alzheimer‟s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Yashtimadhu is effective in the improvement of neuropharmacological activity (medha: intelligence, memory) in adolescents instead of short term memeory. The neuroprotective effect of root of Yashtimadhu is may be due to its antioxidant property as it possess many bioamines and active ingredients by the virtue of which susceptible brain cells get exposed to less oxidative stress resulting in reduced brain damage and improved neuronal function with improvement in memory (intelligence).
Lonare M.K et al., Sch. J. App. Med. Sci., 2013; 1(2):90-95

Antidyslipidemic Activity - Glycyrrhiza glabra significantly decreases lipid profile.

Clinical Studies:
A placebo controlled clinical study, “Effect of Yashtimadhu on Intelligence and Memory Function in Male Adolescents”, on 123 male students for the period of 60 days was published in the Scholars Journal of Applied Medical Sciences (SJAMS). According to this study, yashtimadhu helps in improving memory and management of impaired learning,

dementia, Alzheimer‟s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. It improves the general intelligence rather than short-term-memory.
Lonare M.K et al., Sch. J. App. Med. Sci., 2013; 1(2):90-95

Precautions:



Interaction with Drugs

The drug is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypertension, renal failure and using digitalis preparations. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take licorice. Use of any licorice product is not recommended for longer than 4 - 6 weeks.
Sharma et al Mintage journal of Pharmaceutical & Medical Sciencesǀ15-20, Vol 2 Issue 3, July – Sep 2013


Conclusion:
According to Ayurveda mulethi or yashtimadhu is a beneficial herb for many diseases including its use to improve memory (hence, included in Medhya rasayana).