Glycyrrhizin is a natural sweetener that is extracted from licorice root. It is about 50 times as sweet as sugar.
It has a strong licorice flavor and so is not suitable as a sweetener on its own. It does, however, have a zero glycemic index and is consequently suitable for diabetics.
It has medicinal qualities and is used in the treatment of ulcers, and as an expectorant in cough mixtures. It is often used as an ingredient in toothpaste. It is heat resistant and can be used in cooking and processed food. It provides the sweetness in Sweet Chai Tea. It is sometimes used to provide flavor and sweeten tobacco.
It has a zero glycemic index and this makes it suitable as part of a diabetic diet. It does not contribute to tooth decay. It has medicinal qualities and is used in moderate amounts for a variety of ailments. It has even been shown to assist with the healing of burns.
The EU advise limiting consumption to 100 milligrams per day. Excessive and prolonged consumption may interfere with the Sodium and Potassium balance in the body. The concern is that high levels may increase hypertension. This does not mean that moderate quantities pose any health hazard. Excessive consumption of licorice should be avoided for the same reason.
It is extracted from the root of the licorice plant . Licorice is a member of the pea family that grows in warm climates.
It can be bought on line in powdered form as a herbal remedy.
Because of its strong flavor it is of no use on its own. However it is an excellent sweetener for candies, chewing gum, lozenges and medicine where the licorice flavor is expected or desirable. Has been used in Japan mixed with Stevia.
Glycyrrhizin is approved in the USA as GRAS. Approved in the EU as E958.
Conclusions and Summary:
Useful natural sweetener in certain applications only. Suitable for diabetics and harmless to teeth. Used by the food and pharmaceutical industry, but not as a general consumer sweetener. It has medicinal qualities but excessive amounts should be avoided. This applies also to licorice, no more than about 50 grams of these sweets should be consumed per day.
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