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DGL Benefits: DGL Licorice Benefits, Science, & Side Effects

The Cabinet — 05.15.24

Hilma Ingredient: Licorice

While most think of licorice as an indulgence, found in vintage candy jars or as a snack at the movies, the ingredient licorice is derived from a soothing, anti-inflammatory herb called Glycyrrhiza glabra, whose root has enjoyed a long history of medicinal use. However, that same root is also pretty sweet — licorice root is nicknamed "sweet root" because it contains a compound about 50 times sweeter than sugar. 

So, what does the “DGL” mean? DGL stands for Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, which is a safer form of the natural digestive soothing ingredient because most of the glycyrrhizin has been removed, which, among other observed side effects, can cause elevations in blood pressure with long-term use. This is the best DGL Licorice for medicinal use.

What Are the Origins of DGL Licorice? 

Licorice is native to Europe (mostly Greece & Turkey) and Asia, where the plant is actually classified as a weed. Growing to be three to seven feet in height, licorice has an extensive underground root system, which grows horizontally. Licorice roots are brown on the outside and yellow on the inside.

Ancient cultures, especially early Egyptians, often used licorice root in tea as a general health boost. Licorice later made its way to China, where it became an important herb in Chinese medicinal tradition.

Does DGL Licorice Help With Acid Reflux? 

In traditional use, Licorice has been used more broadly for hormonal issues, gut and throat issues, respiratory support, and fatigue. In particular, Licorice shines for soothing inflammation in the digestive tract and suppressing acid. 

How Does DGL Licorice Work? 

DGL Licorice has been well-studied to promote digestive comfort and with strong results relative to over-the-counter options. In particular, a 2018 observational study found that DGL was more effective than acid-suppressive drugs. Scientific investigation into the mechanism of DGL shows that it is an antispasmolytic (it helps to relax the intestinal wall) to provide relief of indigestion symptoms, while it also repairs the mucosal lining of the digestive tract to promote its overall integrity.

Are There Any Other DGL Benefits?

Aside from its well-known effects on digestive health, DGL licorice offers several other potential health benefits that may not be as widely recognized. 

Let's explore some of these additional advantages:

Support for Microbial Balance

DGL contains flavonoids, natural compounds known for their supportive role in maintaining a healthy microbial balance. These flavonoids can help manage the levels of bacteria and fungi, enhancing the body's natural defenses, particularly in supporting respiratory health. This contributes to a fortified immune response and supports the overall functioning of the respiratory system.

Skin Health Maintenance

DGL's calming agents can be advantageous in managing the symptoms of various skin conditions. By soothing itching and discomfort, it helps maintain skin wellness and appearance.

Antioxidant Effects

DGL is rich in antioxidants, which support the body’s natural defense against oxidative stress. This action supports overall health and may contribute to safeguarding against chronic health issues associated with oxidative damage.

Cholesterol Management

Studies suggest that licorice root extract supports the body’s natural processes for metabolizing and excreting cholesterol. It can support healthy LDL cholesterol oxidation. This is beneficial for heart health and can be particularly effective when combined with a healthy lifestyle.

Hormonal Balance During Menopause

The phytoestrogenic compounds in DGL can assist in balancing hormone levels, offering support to women navigating the challenges of menopause. This can help ease symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood fluctuations, supporting overall hormonal health.

Cortisol Regulation

DGL may help manage stress by influencing adrenal function and cortisol production. This supports adrenal health and may help soothe symptoms typically associated with adrenal fatigue, maintaining a balanced stress response.

Immune Function

Regular intake of DGL may support immune system health, thanks to its bioactive compounds. This additional support helps bolster the body’s defenses against common ailments, contributing to immune resilience.

What Are the Side Effects of DGL Licorice?

While DGL Licorice is celebrated for its broad range of benefits, it is equally important to consider potential side effects, particularly when consumed in large amounts or over an extended period. Awareness and moderation are key to harnessing the benefits of DGL while minimizing any adverse effects. 

Here's a rundown of potential side effects to consider:

It's important to balance the potential health benefits of DGL Licorice with these possible side effects. If you're considering using DGL supplements for issues like acid reflux, GERD, or other health conditions, it's best to consult your healthcare provider first.

Top Tips for Integrating DGL Into Your Wellness Routine

Incorporating DGL into your daily routine can be a beneficial step towards enhancing your overall health. To ensure you're getting the most out of this powerful supplement, here are some practical tips to guide you:

Start With the Right Dosage

Begin with a lower dosage of DGL to see how your body reacts before gradually increasing. This cautious approach helps mitigate potential side effects and identifies the optimal dose for your needs.

Consult Healthcare Professionals

Before starting any new supplement regimen, especially DGL, seek medical advice to ensure it's suitable for your health conditions and won't interact with other medications you’re taking, such as corticosteroids or heart disease treatments.

Choose High-Quality Supplements

To experience the full health benefits of DGL, opt for high-quality supplements from reputable manufacturers. For example, our Occasional Heartburn + Indigestion formula combines DGL with other natural ingredients to support digestive health and maintain the mucosal lining of the digestive tract, providing a reliable option without relying on traditional antacids.

Monitor for Gastric Changes

Pay attention to how your stomach reacts to DGL. It’s known for its soothing properties, but if you have conditions like peptic ulcers, monitor any changes and adjust your intake as necessary.

Timing Is Key

Take DGL supplements at least 20 minutes before meals to maximize their soothing effect on the esophagus and stomach, helping to prevent heartburn and indigestion.

Integration With Lifestyle Changes

Combine DGL supplementation with lifestyle modifications, such as a balanced diet and stress management techniques. This holistic approach enhances the overall effectiveness of DGL in managing health issues like acid reflux and heart disease.

Understand the Interactions

DGL can act as an inhibitor of certain enzymes and drugs. Be aware of its potential interactions, especially if you are taking medication for chronic conditions like hepatitis C.

Opt for Chewable Tablets

If swallowing pills is a challenge, chewable DGL tablets can be an effective alternative. While they can be easier to take, capsules do target symptoms lower in the GI tract, whereas chewables tackle reflux in the esophagus.

Regular Health Check-Ups

Keep regular appointments with your healthcare provider to assess the impact of DGL on your health and make any necessary adjustments to your regimen.

Stay Informed

Keep yourself educated about the latest research on DGL and its health implications. Knowledge about potential benefits and risks will help you make informed decisions about incorporating DGL into your health routine.

How To Store Your DGL Supplements for Optimal Effectiveness

Proper storage and maintenance of your DGL supplements are crucial to ensure their effectiveness and longevity. 

Here are a few key considerations to keep your supplements in the best condition:

By following these simple storage and maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your DGL supplements maintain their potency and provide the maximum health benefits whenever you use them. This proactive approach towards supplement care contributes significantly to an effective wellness routine.

Interested in natural remedies for upset stomach relief?

Read more about soothing Chamomile, the complex vegetable Artichoke Leaf, and Ginger.

This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.


Flavonoids: an overview | PMC

Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) | PMC

Licorice Information | Mount Sinai 

Effects of Licorice on Relief and Recurrence of Menopausal Hot Flashes | PMC


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  2. https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_licorice/drugs-condition.htm
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/licorice-the-sweet-root#history
  4. http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=107&pid=33&gid=000262
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/licorice-the-sweet-root#history
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  7. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/licoriceroot
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