Pharmaceutical Companies Lines Up for Licorice Root

Pharmaceutical Companies Lines Up for Licorice Root

A major Japanese chemical company will start to grow licorice, an essential ingredient in many of Chinese herbal formulas.  This planting will be on a commercial basis and has came as a result of growing concern that in the near future, Japanese companies may struggle to secure sufficient supply of licorice from China, the world's largest plantation center of this medicinal herb.


The Chinese government has restricted the harvesting and exporting of licorice root since the year 2000. This measure is to prevent the nation's biological resources from being overexploited and overdeveloped.


Licorice root is a very important medicinal ingredient, for it is used in about 80% of traditional Chinese formulas.  Each year, more than 1,600 tons of licorice root is harvested from China are exported to Japan.  Taiwan’s import of licorice is more than its neighboring Japan.  The import price of licorice root has nearly quarterpled in the last five years.  With the increasing popularity and demand for traditional Chinese medicine and related herbal remedies, ensuring the stability of licorice supply is an urgent task for the pharmaceutical industry.

In order to secure sufficient supply of licorice root, the Japanese enterprise started to grow licorice for trial, and conducted tests to confirm the active constituents and pharmaceutical potency.  The company will begin commercial growth in the year 2011, and plans to increase production to meet all domestic demand within several years.  Product is expects to meet domestic demand & provide surplus for export.


Background Information


Licorice root (Radix Glycyrrhizae, Gan Cao) is the dried root of Glycyrrhhiza uralensis Fisch. (Fabaceae Fam.)  Its taste is sweet and it enters twelve channels.  It can tonify the spleen, replenish Qi, clear heat, remove toxin, moisten the lungs, control cough, harmonize the stomach and spleen, and harmonize other herbs.  Traditionally, it is used to treat sore throat, carbuncle, toxic swelling, toxicosis in fetuses and children, diarrhea due to spleen deficiency, thirst due to stomach deficiency, cough due to dry lungs, palpitation, fatigue, muscle spasm and tightness.






Relevant articles on this topic:


1. Chinese Folktale for Licorice root

2. Research: Licorice root May Improve Neurodegenative Diseases

3. Relevant News Regarding Licorice Root


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