8 Top Benefits & Side Effects Of Mulethi | Athimathuram (Licorice)

mulethi medicinal uses

Licorice | Mulethi | Yashtimadhu is a very very important ancient herb that occupies a very important position in Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and also in traditional home remedies.

Licorice usage dates back centuries and was used in many countries including India, Rome, China, the UK, and Japan from ancient times. It is a wonderful herb that has amazing health benefits and medicinal uses. It is one of my favorite herbs and I always have licorice at home. I use both the licorice root and the powder so I stock them both always.

Botanical & Common Names Of Mulethi: 

The botanical name of licorice is Glycyrrhiza Glabra, the word glycyrrhiza means sweet wood. Licorice | Liquorice is the English name and Mulethi | Jethimadhu is the Hindi name of licorice root. Mulethi is called Athimadhuram in Tamil, Jeshthamadh in Marathi, Jethimadh in Gujarati, Yastimadhu in Bengali, Atimadhura in Kannada, Atimaduramu in Telugu, Irattimadhuram in Malayalam and Yashtimadhu in Sanskrit.

Mulethi Plant Description: 

Mulethi plant is a legume, it is a perennial plant growing up to 1 to 1.5 meters tall. The plant is mainly cultivated for its roots, the root grows up to 3 to 4 feet. The leaves are pinnate and is dark green colored and the plant produces purple, yellow, or violet-colored flowers. Licorice plant grows wild, you can find wild plants near streams.

Now licorice is also cultivated in many countries, here in India it is cultivated in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and in certain lower Himalayan regions. They grow best in fertile sandy soils and prefer warm climates with moderate rainfall.

licorice benefits

Nutritive Value & Chemical Composition: 

The major constituent of licorice is triterpenoids (licorice root is very sweet, in fact, sweeter than sucrose by 50 times, the sweetness is due to glycyrrhizin which is a triterpenoid) and flavonoids which gives it a yellow color. Licorice also contains up to 3.8 % of glucose, 3 to 6 % of sucrose, 2 to 4% asparagine along with tiny amounts of fat.

Mulethi Benefits & Medicinal Uses:

The medicinal uses of licorice root are very very impressive, it has anti-ulcer, anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-convulsant, anti-bacterial, anti-dyslipidemia, aphrodisiac, anti-obesity, anti-microbial, memory enhancing, hepatoprotective, anti-microbial, anti-viral, antioxidant, demulcent, expectorant and laxative properties.

  • Licorice is very well known as a sore throat and cough medicine. In our home, it is the first herb I resort to for treating sore throat.
  • I make tea out of the roots for treating sore throat. Since the tea is very sweet, children drink it readily, my son has never complained about consuming licorice tea :).
  • We also use licorice tea for treating stomach problems including ulcers, gastritis, and burning sensation in the stomach.
  • Licorice also aids in weight loss as it has anti-obesity properties, you can read the study that supports this claim here, it is also a laxative.
  • Licorice also has anti-androgenic properties and will greatly help women suffering from PCOS and menopausal hot flashes, I would suggest consulting an Ayurvedic physician for the correct dosage for your body type.
  • Not only medicinal uses, but licorice also has wonderful beauty uses too. When used as a face pack, it lightens the scars and when used as a hair pack it is the best remedy for dandruff and other scalp infections.
  • Since it has a very sweet taste, it is used as a flavoring in candies. It is also added to cigarette blends since it dilates bronchitis and helps inhale the smoke easier.

licorice health benefits

Where To Buy Mulethi? 

We get licorice in the form of dried roots, powder, extract, and tablets. Dried roots can be got in most herb shops. Since licorice powder is very famous, it is sold everywhere, in India it is sold as mulethi powder and yashtimadhu powder. We also get it as an extract but try to choose one that is alcohol-free (it will be made with pure vegetable glycerine).

If you don’t want to use the powder, you can also try supplements or tablets. In tablets there are 2 forms, one is made with regular licorice root powder and the other is called DGL (Diglycyrrhizinated Licorice) in which a large part of glycyrrhizin is removed which makes it safe for consumption for longer durations. For people suffering from acid reflux and ulcers, DGL is recommended.

Mulethi Dosage: 

Usually, for children, 2.5 mg to 1 gram is suggested, and for adults, the general dosage is around 1 tsp of mulethi powder (5 grams).

mulethi medicinal uses

Mulethi Side Effects: 

Though licorice is a very popular herb used in home remedies, it is never used for a longer duration and the dosage is also important. Usually, licorice is never recommended for more than a month for anyone and it should be always taken in the recommended dosage. Licorice overdose can lead to weakness, high blood pressure, brain damage, headache, and water retention and there will be changes in menstrual flow in women.

a. During Pregnancy:

 Though licorice can be had as a remedy once in a while by pregnant women, I would suggest not consuming licorice at all during pregnancy as overdosing can lead to preterm birth, you can read the study that confirms this here. It can also affect the child in a very negative way, you can read about it here.

b. During Breast Feeding: 

It is best not to consume licorice during breastfeeding. If at all you want to consume licorice during breastfeeding, I would suggest you do it after consulting your physician and never take it in large quantities for long durations of time.

c. For Blood Pressure Patients: 

People suffering from blood pressure should avoid licorice as it tends to increase blood pressure, you can read the study that confirms it here. If at all you want to consume mulethi consider taking it in the form of DGL after consulting with a physician.

D. For Diabetic Patients: 

Diabetic patients can consume licorice safely as a remedy in the proper dosage as it has anti-diabetic properties, you can read the research that proves this claim here.  But I would suggest consuming licorice after consulting with your physician as consuming both licorice and diabetic medication at the same time can reduce the blood sugar levels drastically.

How To Make Yashtimadhu Powder | Mulethi Powder At Home? 

If you don’t want to buy yashtimadhu powder from the shops, you can also make it at home. To make it, sundry the licorice roots till crisp, break them into small pieces by pounding in a mortar and pestle, and then dry grind in a mixer, sieve the powder, and store.

8 Top Medicinal Uses Of Mulethi (Yashtimadhu):

Mulethi Powder For Health:

1. Mulethi  Tea For Pcos, Weight loss, Arthritic Pain & Cough :

mulethi tea health benefits

Licorice tea is good for treating many problems including anxiety. It is also a laxative. For making the tea, pound 3 to 5 grams of licorice root in a mortar and pestle and boil it in a cup of water till it reduces in half and strain. Drink it warm.

2. Mulethi Powder & Honey For Dry Cough: 

yashtimadhu powder medicinal uses

Licorice powder mixed with honey is a good remedy for dry cough. For the remedy, take 1/4 tsp licorice powder in a bowl, mix with honey and consume when suffering from cough.

3. Mulethi Root For Good Voice:

yashtimadhu medicinal uses

Some singers usually suck on a piece of licorice root before singing as it helps clear the voice. If you feel your voice is sounding hoarse, try sucking on a small piece of licorice root.

4.  Mulethi & Trikatu Decoction For Cold & Cough:

licorice medicinal uses & side effects

Trikatu called Thirikadugam in Tamil is a mixture of equal quantities of long pepper, dry ginger, and pepper. It is a very popular medicinal blend. When we add athimadhuram to trikatu, it makes it effective in treating persistent cough. For the remedy, take equal quantities of the long pepper, pepper and, dry ginger along with licorice root and pound it coarsely. Boil the pounded mixture in water till it reduces in half and strain.

5. Mulethi Brush For Dental Problems:

mulethi herb benefits

Like neem sticks, licorice sticks also make good toothbrushes. They have antimicrobial properties and will greatly prevent many dental problems like canker sores and mouth odor if used as toothbrushes. To use, take a long licorice root, pound the end and brush your teeth with it.

Mulethi Benefits For Skin:

6. Face Cream Using Mulethi Extract:

mulethi for skin

I make a wonderful fairness cream at home using licorice extract. Since licorice has skin-lightening properties, it is a good remedy for lightening scars naturally. To make the cream pound licorice roots and infuse it in a 1/8 cup of sweet almond oil by heating it over a double boiler. Now melt 2 tbsp organic beeswax along with the infused oil and once melted let it set in the fridge. Once set, whip using a whisk till soft peaks form.

7. Mulethi Face Pack For Acne & Dark Circles:

mulethi face pack

This face pack made with licorice powder and red sandal powder brightens the skin tone, reduces dark circles, and treats acne well. To make it, mix 2 tbsp multani mitti powder, 1.5 tsp red sandalwood powder and 1 tsp licorice powder with enough milk and apply as a pack.

Mulethi Benefits For Hair:

8. Mulethi Hair Mask:

licorice for hair

Mulethi powder when used as a hair mask treats all scalp problems well. To make the mask, take the required amount of mulethi powder in a bowl, add yogurt to mix into a paste along with a teaspoon of any unrefined oil of choice and use it as a hair mask.

mulethi medicinal uses


    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 21, 2016 / 6:52 am

      I saw the product you mentioned, it says licorice sticks on the label but I couldn't view it properly and in the comment section a buyer had posted a picture in which it looked almost black in color! Not sure what those are…

    • Anonymous
      November 23, 2016 / 10:34 am

      Those black sticks are candy made from licorice powder.

  1. Nils Mitt
    November 7, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Hi mam! Does licorice helps in rejuvenate the hair follicles? Can you suggest the recipe

  2. Madhi
    January 12, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Mam can we use the kitchen mixie instead of hand mixer for fairness cream..how long does the cream last ?

  3. Anonymous
    January 13, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    Can I buy Mulethi and crush to get Mulethi powder? Or Mulethi powder is different medicine?

  4. Sakshi Arora
    April 12, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Hi ,can I take it on daily bases , till how many days I can take it?

  5. Anonymous
    April 19, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    How long should we drink the licorice tea for pcos?

  6. Digitalmayanka
    February 9, 2018 / 10:33 am

    As we all know that mulethi helps in building endurance to the body and is the best for fever prevention. But due to its bitter taste, its difficult to consume it and hence it scan be taken in the form of tea, organic india tulsi mulethi is the best tea for improving endurance and making the fever free.

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