Licorice has been
used medicinally for its demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative and
estrogenic properties. Traditionally, licorice has also been used to relieve
asthma, bronchitis, fevers ulcers, and cancers. Today, it is widely used to
treat coughs and colds and as a digestive aid. In Japan, physicians have used licorice to
treat chronic hepatitis B. Glycyrrhizinic acid (Glycyrrhizin) from licorice
interferes with hepatitis B surface antigen and works synergistically with the interferon
against hepatitis A virus. Licorice has also been used for treating hepatitis C.
Glycyrrhizinic acid is 50 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) and can be used as a
sweetener in functional foods.