A new German study has found that licorice root may contain anti-diabetic properties. Besides having anti-inflammatory properties, substances called amorfrutins from the plant’s root were found to reduce blood sugar levels in mice.
Furthermore, the study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, found the substance helped prevent the mice from developing a fatty liver and improved insulin resistance, leading scientists to suggest that licorice root could be used in the treatment of complex metabolic disorders.
In their study, the amorfrutins worked by activating various genes that reduced the plasma concentration of certain fatty acids and glucose, researchers said. The reduced glucose level, in turn, prevented the development of insulin resistance. But before you go tucking into a bag of black licorice candy, scientists point out that the concentration of amorfrutins is too low to be effective in sweets or tea.
Extracting the nutrients in large concentrations, however, could be used on an industrial scale, they say. In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, licorice root has also been used to treat many health issues.