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Get to the Root -- The Soothing Properties of Licorice and Marshmallow Root

Several of our products and teas contain licorice and/or marshmallow root. These herbs may most commonly be known in terms of their candy counterparts but originally these sweet roots were used for their soothing and supportive benefits. Read on to learn more about these amazing roots.

Glycyrrhiza glabra or licorice root contains glycyrrhizic (or glycyrrhic)acid, phytoestrogens, coumarins, flavonoids, essential oils and polysacarides.

Benefits: Licorice root is known for its demulcent (rich in mucilage – viscous, gel like slippery substance from plants), anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful for soothing inflamed tissues such as sore throat, bronchial inflammation, or stomach or digestive system irritation. It is also used as an expectorant, anti-spasmodic, anti-hepatotoxic, and for its mild laxative effects.

You may have seen licorice in cough drops or syrup where it can be helpful in soothing sore throats and easing coughs. Research has shown that licorice can support the endocrine system and liver.

According to herbalist Dr. Hoffman “” Triterpenes from the plant can be metabolized by the body to create molecules similar to adrenal cortex hormones and may be the basis of its anti-inflammatory properties. Licorice can be useful to tone and strengthen the adrenal glands and tone the endocrine system.

Licorice has also been used to support the liver and is reported used in Japan for chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Licorice may also be useful to soothe ulcers or colitis.


Glycyrrhizin and glycerrhizin acid can cause sodium retention and potassium loss which can tax the heat and kidneys. Individuals with a history of high blood pressure, water retention, or heart or kidney stress should consult a qualified health care practitioner before using licorice root on a regular basis. Side effects are minimal if intake is under 10 mg per day.

Easiest ways to use:

Tea or decoction: add ½ to 1 tsp of licorice root per 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Drink three times per day or as needed to soothe the throat or digestive system or support adrenal or liver health.

Tincture: 1 to 3 mls daily three times per day (1:5 in 40%)

Althaea officinalis. Marshmallow root contains polysaccharides, flavonoids, betaine, coumarins, beta carotene, vitamin B, and calcium.

Marshmallow is useful for soothing inflamed tissue. It can support the bladder, kidneys, and stomach when there is irritation or infection. Marshmallow may not offer much in the way of antiviral or antibacterial properties, but it is useful for soothing dry coughs, is useful for soothing dry or itchy skin. Marshmallow can also soothe burns or sores as well as hemorrhoids.


Marshmallow is a very safe benign herb although its mucilage may slow the absorption of some drugs if taken at the same time.

Easiest way to use: Can be used as a paste or poultice on the skin to soothe irritation or look for products that include marshmallow extract.

Infusion or tea: A cold infusion can be made by soaking 2 to 4 g of the herb in a cup of cold water overnight and resulting gel used externally or internally. Marshmallow can be used alongside other herbs to create a tea with therapeutic intention (sore throat, bladder support etc).

Tincture: 1 to 4 ml three times per day (1:5 in 25%)

If you have questions about these herbs check out some of the resources below or feel free to contact Tricia or stop by the apothecary in Old Town Temecula. And be on the lookout for more herb and aromatherapy classes.

Throat Soothing Tea:

Below is a suggested combination of herbs to create a tasty throat soothing tea -- everyone's taste is a little different so feel free to adjust the amounts of herbs to achieve the taste you like. As teas herbs that are indicated for internal use are generally very safe, but if you are taking medication or have a medical condition sure to note any safety considerations or contraindications before consuming the herbs mentioned.

1 part licorice root

1 part marshmallow root

1 part cinnamon chips

1 part orange or lemon peel

1/2 part ginger root chips

Pinch of clove bud

(part can be teaspoon, tablespoon, or whatever measure you like to create a ratio)

Add 1-2 teaspoons of the mixture to 1 cup of hot water and steep for 10-15 minutes and strain. Add honey and/or lemon if desired and drink as needed to soothe a sore throat.

Throat Soothing Tea with Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a wonderful nervine or calming herb. It tastes lovely and makes a wonderful tea. Again you can feel free to adjust the herbs to taste while keeping licorice and marshmallow the same.

3 parts (1 tablespoon) lemon balm

1 part (1 teaspoon) licorice root

1 part (1 teaspoon) marshmallow root

1 part (1 teaspoon) cinnamon bark

1/2 part (1/2 teaspoon) ginger root

pinch of clove bud

Aromatic blessings,


Suggested References:

Richard Whelan Medical Herbalist Website:

Gladstarr, Rosemary: Medicinal Herbs: a Beginner’s Guide

Hoffman, David Medical Herbalism The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine


I understand that the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the therapeutic suggestions or any statements made on this website about essential oils, carriers or other products offered by Aromatherapy by Tricia Ambroziak (ABT)

The statements made on this website are for educational purposes and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The data on this website is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment based on something you've read or accessed through this website. Tricia Ambroziak is a professional aromatherapist but not a licensed health care professional.

I understand that essential oils and aromatherapy are not a substitute for professional medical care. I understand that the products being sold by ABT are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.

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