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It’s a weird phenomenon in our world, but people seem to either love or hate black jellybeans. Yet while there is something about the taste of licorice that creates either friends or foes, those who know of the healing properties of the herb licorice can only be its loyal supporters.

To gain further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study licorice (as well as other herbs, nutrients and foods) through the lens of herbal astrology. Through this periscope, we can further get to the root of how this botanical remedy may serve to protect health and well-being.

Licorice is Associated with Mercury

Licorice is ruled by Mercury, the planet that governs the signs Gemini and Virgo. The energy of this planet embodies qualities of its messenger god namesake, who traveled throughout the heavens, Earth and underworld serving as a beacon of information. In astrology, Mercury’s planetary energies reflect the desire to synthesize mental stimuli and communicate information in the pursuit of gaining an intellectual understanding of the world around you.

In medical astrology, Mercury is related to physiological functions that guide communication and information transfer. It rules the nervous and respiratory systems, as well as hormones, which serve as messenger chemicals that control various body functions.

The active ingredients in licorice that provide its health benefits include glycyrrhizin and a variety of phytochemicals collectively known as flavonoids. An extract of licorice called DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) is also available, and is made by removing the glycyrrhizin component. Licorice and DGL are generally used for treatment and prevention of different health conditions.

Uses of Licorice

Licorice provides great benefit for many conditions affecting the Mercury-ruled respiratory system. Licorice has expectorant properties that help to relieve bronchial congestion. It also exerts soothing effects on the respiratory tract when it is irritated by coughing. The traditional uses of licorice, as part of a treatment protocol for bronchitis, asthma and coughs associated with the common cold, have been supported by modern scientific research.

Licorice is also used to balance the adrenal glands, which are oftentimes taxed due to the chronic stress of our modern-day world. Licorice’s support of the adrenal glands is related to its ability to sustain levels of cortisol, a Mercury-ruled hormone that plays many important roles in regulating body function. Therefore, nutritionally-oriented healthcare practitioners often recommend licorice for supporting the body during periods of stress and fatigue, as well as for conditions characterized by severe adrenal insufficiency such as Addison’s disease.

DGL and Ulcers

Clinical research studies have shown DGL to be useful in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. While many drugs aim to treat ulcers through the reduction of gastric acidity, DGL’s flavonoid phytochemicals help to prevent ulcer formation by supporting the gastrointestinal tract’s normal defense mechanisms. DGL has been found to extend the life span of intestinal cells while also improving the quantity and quality of substances that protect the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract. Long-term maintenance therapy has been found to be effective and does not feature side effects that are commonly associated with other ulcer medications.

While medical professionals believe that ulcers may be caused by a host of different factors, many believe that stress plays an important role in ulcer formation and perpetuation. Therefore, Mercury-ruled licorice provides benefit for a condition that may be exacerbated by a Mercury-ruled nervous system being out of balance.

How to Use Licorice

Licorice is available in a variety of different delivery forms, including capsules, teas and fluid extracts. The Commission E accepted daily dosage is five to fifteen grams of licorice root, or the equivalent of 200-600 milligrams of glycyrrhizin. The recommended dosage of DGL, available in 380 milligram tablets, is two to four tablets before meals for acute conditions, and one to two tablets before meals for chronic conditions.

As the glycrrhizin that is a component of licorice (but not DGL) can affect the regulation of such hormones as cortisol, aldosterone and progesterone, it may produce a variety of serious side effects, including high blood pressure, water retention and cessation of menstruation in people with certain health histories. Licorice should not be used for longer than four to six weeks without medical supervision, and should be avoided by people who have high blood pressure, liver disorders, severe kidney insufficiency and those who use certain diuretic medications. Licorice should also be avoided during pregnancy.

It is important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking of using licorice or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition. Additionally, you should tell your healthcare provider about all of the dietary supplements that you are taking so that s/he can evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.

Editor’s note: The health information given in this article is not meant as a substitute for care from a qualified physician. This information is given for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. is not responsible for any mishaps that occur as a result of using this information.



Stephanie Gailing, MS, CN, is a Certified Nutritionist, astrologer and freelance natural health writer. She holds her Masters Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty. Stephanie has been involved in the natural products industry for more than ten years, with experiences ranging from operating her own natural products retail store to serving as a marketing consultant for dietary supplement companies.

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For more information about Stephanie Gailing, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Stephanie Gailing:

  • Herbal Astrology: Vitex   12/17/2012
  • Herbal Astrology: Bilberry   12/24/2011
  • Herbal Astrology: Chamomile   12/10/2011
  • Herbal Astrology: Milk Thistle   11/5/2011
  • Herbal Astrology: St. John's Wort   10/29/2011
  • Herbal Astrology: Garlic   10/21/2011
  • Herbal Astrology: Cayenne   4/3/2003
  • Herbal Astrology: Garlic   11/14/2002
  • Herbal Astrology: Valerian   11/6/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Horse Chestnut   7/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Feverfew   6/5/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Hawthorn   5/22/2000

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