Can Licorice Root Relieve A Sore Throat?

Many of us will experience a sore throat from time to time for many reasons. The most common reason is a virus, and a sore throat will often accompany a cold or flu, points out the Mayo Clinic. In other cases, you'll experience an inflamed and irritated throat if you contract the bacterial infection known as Streptococcus pyogenes (also known as strep throat). That being said, you don't need to be sick to have a sore throat — other contributors to the condition are allergies, acid reflux, excessive mouth breathing that leads to dryness, and pollutants such as tobacco smoke.

When it comes to a sore throat, Healthline states that the irritated feeling can take place in various places along the esophagus. The upper part of the throat may be inflamed, including the tonsils, known as tonsillitis, or there may be swelling located to the voice box, called laryngitis. Soreness in the entire throat region is referred to as pharyngitis. 

Oftentimes, it'll be the symptoms you experience in addition to a sore throat that will clue you into the cause and allow a doctor to properly diagnose and treat the condition. For example, viral infections will also likely cause a fever, chills, cough, congestion, and body chills. Additional symptoms associated with strep throat include white bumps on the tonsils, fever, and pain when swallowing. Depending on the cause of the sore throat, there are ways to alleviate and treat it. One such way to find relief is with licorice root.

Licorice root can relieve and prevent a sore throat

There have been some studies looking at the effects of licorice root on a sore throat. One 2019 study published in the journal Biomedicines examined 13 different herbal infusion teas and their ability to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria responsible for strep throat. Licorice root was found to be the most effective at preventing the growth of the bacteria at the lowest concentration. The findings prove promising for the possibility of developing alternative, non-synthetic remedies for strep throat, which is currently treated with antibiotics (via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

A 2019 systematic review published in the Journal of Clinical Anesthesia also found evidence for the curative properties of licorice root when it comes to preventing sore throats after surgery-related intubation. Researchers found that applying the plant extract to the throat prior to surgery reduced the occurrence of irritation in patients. They hypothesized that this was due to the plant's anti-inflammatory properties. Healthline adds that licorice root's ability to reduce inflammation is due to the presence of the active compound glycyrrhizin, which also happens to be antimicrobial and antioxidative in nature.

If you are considering using licorice root to alleviate a sore throat, always make sure to check with your doctor first to make sure you can safely do so as it has been found to interfere with certain medications as well as impact brain development in babies who are in utero (via Healthline).