A herb like liquorice [also spelt as licorice] has to be God’s gift to us, specially when you consider its myriad uses.
Known as mulathee or yastimadhu in Hindi, this is a herb known for providing us with a variety of health restoring benefits. It may be used both for preventive, as well as curative purposes, although within the recommended dosage.
The ayurveda connection
In ayurveda, the roots of yashtimadhu are used for preparing medicines. Yashtimadhu, as the name suggests, has a sweet taste as well as after taste. Ayurveda counsels it to be supportive in treating the ailments relating to vatta and pitta doshas imbalance. The nature of the herb is heavy, slimy and cold in action. It therefore helps to balance the aggravated vatta or the air body humor, as well as the increased pitta or the heat in the body.
More than just preventive
Yashtimadhu is beneficial in hyperacidity, habitual constipation, abdominal pain, bronchitis, colds, cough, sore throat, muscle spasms, mouth and stomach ulcers and painful or burning urination. Moreover, it naturally supports the vital organs by improving the body’s immunity and endurance.
It is believed to be good for the voice, eyes and hair too.
Yashtimadhu increases the stamina and fertility, and also finds use in the problems of excessive thirst, toxicity and nausea. As a medicine it is used for treating headaches, scabies, rickets, anaemia and urinary infections. It acts as an aphrodisiac and is assumed to keep away premature ageing.
Here’s how ayurveda texts describe some special properties of this herb
Vranya - It is amicable for the skin, aids in relieving skin maladies like itching and burning sensation, and also tends to provide natural glow to the skin.
Keshya - Good for the hair, helps prevents hair fall and provides natural lustre and bounce to the hair.
Shukravardhaka - Yashtimadhu is also a natural aphrodisiac.
Chakshushaya - Eyesight promoting and relieves burning sensation in the eyes.
Medhya - Aids in improving mental powers and is included as a brain-tonic herb.
Rasayana - Rejuvenating and revitalising herb.
Vednahara - The herb is a potent pain-killer.
Swara - Improves tone of the voice and is soothing in case of throat pain.
Liquorice home remedies
For cough and cold
Take about one tsp of powdered yashtimadhu and mix well with honey. Have this twice a day for relieving cough, cold, phlegm and chest congestion.
Take 3 – 5 grams of powdered yashtimadhu along with cow’s milk as a natural home remedy for hyperacidity and to heal stomach ulcers.
For mild to moderate constipation
Yashtimadhu may be recommended for a number of digestion ailments like constipation, hyperacidity, vomiting and peptic ulcer. For habitual constipation
you may mix powdered yashtimadhu and triphala churana in the ratio of 2:4 respectively. This mixture is to be taken in a dose of one teaspoon at bedtime along with warm milk.
For mouth ulcers
A decoction prepared from boiling yashtimadhu root may be used for gargling and it can be consumed too. This is an effective home remedy for not only mouth ulcers, but also for throat pain and inflammation of the vocal cords.
For general weakness
Powdered yashtimadhu when taken with honey and ghee is advised as a general as well as brain tonic. It helps fight diseases, promotes growth and prevents premature ageing.
Yashtimadhu may be used in the form of oil [commercially available] on the skin for fairness and rejuvenation. Also, yashtimadhu siddha taila is recommended as nasal drops for relieving chronic colds, nose-block, sinusitis, headache and associated symptoms. Local application of the oil is also good for wounds associated with blood loss since it has a property of arresting blood loss.
Yashtimadhu used as an active ingredient in hair oil helps prevent premature greying of hair and makes the hair strong and dandruff-free. Washing hair with a yashtimadhu decoction also helps.
Crushed or pounded yashtimadhu roots can be mixed with water or raw milk and prepared into a paste. This may be applied on the affected areas of skin infection or inflammation.
Applying a mix of the powdered herb with ghee helps to relieve the pain and swelling.
How much is good enough
The prescribed dosage of yashtimadhu powder is 3 – 5 grams. The herb is available commercially in the form of dried roots which can be consumed by breaking the same in smaller fragments, or else crushing or pounding it into a powder. As an ayurvedic medicine, it is available in the form of medicinal formulations like Yashtimadhu churana, Yastiaadi churana, Yashtiaadi quath and Yashtimadhvaadi taila.
Consume with care
As a word of heed, there are some precautions that need to be followed. And more importantly, overuse of yashtimadhu, both in terms of frequency and dosage, can be dangerous. The herb contains a natural component called glycyrrnizin in the form of glycyrrizic acid. This is believed to be 50 times sweeter than sugar. This makes regular intake of the herb rather addictive [especially in case you are sweet toothed].
Also, when taken in large amounts for a prolonged period, the herb might affect electrolyte balance in the body. Cases of water retention and high blood pressure have been noticed and therefore yashtimadhu must be taken with care especially if you’re suffering from hypertension or some kidney ailments.
This was first published in the December 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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