Radix Glycyrrhizae


Root of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch. or G. glabra L., family Leguminosae.

G. uralensis: Root terete, rare branching, unequal in length (may attain 100 cm long), 0.6-3.5 cm in diameter. Cork reddish brown, with transverse long lenticels and longitudinal wrinkles. Powder spreading out when broken. Fracture surface fibrous. Prepared as cross or oblique cutting pieces, yellow; vascular bundles radial arranged in xylem; cambium rings revealed between the cortex and the xylem. Loose in texture. G. glabra: Cork greyish yellow, section yellowish white. Solid in texture. Both are sweet in taste, mild in nature, and attributive to spleen and stomach channels.

1. Invigorate vital energy: For syndrome of spleen-stomach deficiency; for those with deficiency of vital energy, used together with Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae and Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae; for those with yang-deficiency, used together with Rhizoma Zingiberis; for those with deficiency of heart energy or heart-yang manifested as shortness of breath, palpitation, chest pain and irrhythmia, usually used together with Ramulus cinnamoni.
2. Clear away heat and toxic material: For serious heat-syndrome such as skin infection, sorethroat, etc. or drug and food poisoning.
3. Eliminate phlegm and relieve cough: For various types of cough and dyspnea.
4. Relieve spasm and alleviate pain: For spasm and pain of the abdomen and leg, arthralgia of wind-dampness-cold type and peptic ulcer, used together with Radix Paeoniae Alba.
5. Moderate the potency of drugs: For counteracting the toxicity or side effects of potent drugs such as Radix et Rhizoma Rhei, Radix Aconiti Praeparata, Radix Aconiti, etc. Also used for adjusting the taste of drugs. Recently, used for virus hepatitis, thrombocytopenic purpura and anaphylactoid purpura.

Pharmacological Action
Its chief active components are glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhetinic acid, liquiritin and liquiritigenin.
1. Its decoction can inhibit intestinal smooth muscles of rabbits in vitro, but glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid have no this effect.
2. Possessing an adrenocorticomimetic effect.
3. Its extract and glycyrrhizin exerts a detoxifying effect.
4. Antitussive and antiasthmatic.
5. Glycyrrhizin has an anti-inflammatory effect similar to hydrocortisone.

Administration Decoction:
3-9g; up to 30g for heart-energy deficiency, food and drug poisoning.

1. Edema and hypertension may ensue after a long period of administration.
2. Incompatible with Radix Euphorbiae Kansui, Flos Genkwa, and Radix Euphorbiae Pekinensis, etc.


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Mr. Wang Tao

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