Whilst its calorie-free sweetness is important, Licorice or Mulethi is a strong rasayana (rejuvenative tonic) in Ayurveda providing enduring strength to the whole body as well as nourishment to the nervous system.
Its signature sweet taste is due to the compound Glycyrrhizin.
Known as Licorice in English, ‘Mulethi’ or ‘Jethimadhu’ in Hindi, it is one of the most common ayurvedic herbs that has a centuries-long repute of being the ultimate remedy for cough and sore throat. Known as ‘Sarvarogaprashamani’ (cure for all maladies), Mulethi was widely recommended by ancient physicians to soldiers and warriors to improve endurance and stamina.
Licorice belongs to the Fabaceae family, the same family as peas and beans. Like its leguminous relatives it has pinnate leaves (leaflets arranged on either side of the stem), distinctive flowers and fruits that resemble miniature pea pods. The plant has an extensive root system. There are 18 different species of Licorice that belong to the Glycyrrhiza genus.
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Dioscorides, a Greek herbal physician, gave the plant its botanical name: The word ‘Glycyrrhiza’ is derived from the Greek term ‘glykos’ which means sweet and ‘rhiza’ meaning root and hence the name ‘sweet root’. The holistic science of Ayurveda terms this root powder as Yashtimadhu meaning sweet stick.
Mulethi is used in several ayurvedic formulations to treat respiratory problems, obesity, skin infection, liver disorders and gastric problem, among others. Because of its distinct aroma, the root powder has also been used as a flavouring agent in candies and sweets, especially in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Benefits of Licorice
Soothes stomach complaints like acidity, occasional heartburn, and other digestive discomforts.
Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which supports liver health
Even though the herb is 40 to 50 times sweeter than sugar, it is an excellent remedy for regulating blood sugar.
Excellent for lung health
Sexual vigour enhancer owing to its natural aphrodisiac nature.
Excellent to treat Respiratory problems
Traditional remedy for sore throat and cough
Aids in weight loss. The abundance of flavonoids in mulethi powder, helps the body shed excess weight faster
Treats Skin disorders
Heals ulcers and wounds
Good for Oral health
Mulethi is an excellent digestive herb. The anti-flatulent property of the roots reduces the formation of gas in the alimentary canal, thus reducing flatulence, bloating and abdominal distension. It also increases appetite, reduces indigestion and promotes better absorption of nutrients in the body.
The root is considered to be a one-shot remedy for all sorts of respiratory troubles. Having powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic, and anti-asthmatic properties, it also thins and slackens phlegm deposits within the chest and nasal cavities and hence eases breathing and helps the body to get rid of mucus.
Mulethi water is said to be very beneficial. Soak around a teaspoon of mulethi in a glass of water overnight and have it the first thing the next morning.
For curing skin ailments, mix mulethi powder with milk or rose water and apply evenly on the skin.
Mulethi can be added to hot water to make a tea, or just added to milk. Many people like to combine it with ginger to enhance the respiratory system and ease digestive complaints.