Thursday, January 7, 2010

Liquorice root for antibiotic-resistant infections resulting from severe burns...

Liquorice root candy, or properly Glycyrrhiza glabra, is the dried root  of the liquorice plant (see pictures - credit : wikipedia), which is eaten as a candy. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as in the traditional medicines of Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other Asian nations (In India ಯಷ್ಠಿಮಧು/ಅತಿಮಧುರ (in kannada & मुलहठी in hindi). The extract of the liquorice root is one of the main ingredients in liquorice confectionery. Liquorice root can be shredded and added to boiling water to create liquorice root tea. Liquorice root has been traditionally used as a herbal remedy against different symptoms, such as cough and catarrh. People with heart conditions or high blood pressure should avoid ingesting extensive amounts of liquorice, as it can further heighten blood pressure and lead to stroke.

Though liquorice root has also been reported to speed the healing of canker sores, now researchers from University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Hospitals for Children have come up with more interesting findings, that is root can be used to treat antibiotic-resistant infections resulting from severe burns. They found that in burned mice, glycyrrhizin improved the ability of damaged skin to create small proteins that serve as the first line of defense against infection. These proteins, called antimicrobial peptides, work by puncturing the cell membranes of bacteria similar to how pins pop balloons. As per the claim by the researchers lead by Dr. Fujio Suzuki, more research is necessary to determine if this finding would have any implications for people with cystic fibrosis, who can develop Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in their lungs.

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