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Why Choose Gan Cao: A Chinese Medicine?

Gan Cao

Gan Cao is a licorice root and a well-known herb used as a “harmonizer” in Chinese herbal formulas. Here in Western applications, it is used more as a “moderator” thanks to it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and antacid effects. Traditional Chinese herbal medicines have been broadly used in clinical practice to handle neuro-degenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress and neuro-inflammation. In some studies, the neuro-protection effects of Gan-Cao have been shown in a cell model of tauopathy neurodegenerative diseases. The results showed Gan-Cao to have better anti-inflammatory activity than other tested herbs.

In addition to its medical benefits, the Gan Cao herb plant which is from Central Europe has also been used as a food flavoring for centuries. The main two components glycyrrhizin and flavonoids work as an anti-inflammatory and antiviral herb. The Gan Cao herb is easily available at any natural healing store among other readily available holistic wellness products. The herb is a powerful antioxidant that helps in protecting liver cells and can help to heal digestive cells.

And today this herbal medicine is known as one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. While it is used as a flavoring, it also soothes coughs and sore throats, urinary tract issues and treats various other conditions.

Some reasons why you should choose this Chinese herbal medicine:

1. Releases Cramps and Alleviates Pain

If you are suffering from menstruation cramps and want to relieve the pain you can use this holistic wellness product to alleviate the pain. When it comes to soothing the cramping and stomach pain, especially in the abdomen Gan Cao is very useful. You can combine it with Bai Shao for treating skeletal muscle cramps or spasms.

2. Clears Heat

The herb can be used for removing heat from the body. Whether you ingest the fresh herb internally or it is applied to any affected part of the body. Gan Cao treats ulcers, uncomplicated skin infections, lesions, and other sores distinguished by heat or toxins. You can decoct or extract the essence of this herb and then apply topically for Erysipelas or eczema with lesions and itching.

3. Stops Coughing

Stops Coughing

Gan Cao is recommended to handle respiratory problems too. Taking the herb as an oral supplement is said to help your body produce healthy mucus. Thus, the production of clean healthy phlegm keeps the respiratory system functioning without old, mucus clogging your lungs. You can use it to stop coughing and wheezing from various conditions.

4. Poison antidote

As the herb can be used both internally and physically, it can help you to mitigate the effects of various food, harmful herbs, and chemical and drug poisoning. It treats food poisoning, stomach ulcers, and heartburn. Use the herb alone for beef poisoning, with honey for drug poisoning, with talcum for herbicide poisoning. As said before, the Gan Cao herbal medicine can be used both internally and topically.

5. Strengthens the Qi

This herb helps in improving your Spleen's function of transformation and transportation with symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, and loose stools. The Gan Cao herb is also useful in soothing gastrointestinal. This herbal medicine speeds the repair of the stomach lining and restores the balance. This is due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of glycyrrhizic acid.

6. Reduces Stress

After some time, stress can leave the adrenal gland exhausted due to its constant production of adrenaline and cortisol. The Gan Cao supplements allow the adrenal gland some relief. The herb’s extract can stimulate the adrenal gland and in turn, promotes healthy living.

7. Aids Cancer Treatment

Few studies have proven that the Gan Cao Chinese herbal extract can potentially aid the treatment of breast and prostate cancers. While some of the Chinese practices have already implemented this herbal extract into cancer treatments…However, there are some studies yet to be proven and the research is still on-going in the American Cancer Society.

Cautions of Gan Cao

It is advised not to consume the herb with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, chest pain, or any abdominal distention due to dampness. It is also not recommended to take this herb if you have high blood pressure or edema.


If you’re looking for something to keep your strength and stamina up, Gan Cao is the herbal supplement for you. You can easily find products with Gan Cao from More Natural Healing, an online natural healing store.

In its raw state, Gan Cao appears to have a woody and brittle appearance, but it is harder than it looks – it takes a bit of effort to snap them. Generally, the majority of people purchase the roots when they’re about 15cm long, but Gan Cao is actually capable of growing up to 30cm long. If you take a closer look at it, the top of the root bears deep scars and creases and is originally known as the lion’s head because of its appearance.

The Gan Cao herbal medicine is also referred to by many other names like Licorice Root, Glycyrrhiza uralensis root- honey-fried, Radix Glycyrrhizae Uralensis coated in honey and baked until dark brown, Honey baked Licorice, Honey Fried Licorice Decoction, or Zhi Gan Cao Tang.

And as we have now observed, Gan Cao has many health benefits. It can be used to strengthen the spleen, enhance Qi, and improve digestion. It can help you to regulate blood pressure, nourish the blood, and tonify the lungs which help to heal your respiratory system. Gan Cao is also used as a supplement to help boost the immunity of cancer patients.

Our blog post is a collaborative effort by the founders of More Natural Healing in conjunction with Editors of Renewed Health Alliance, and our board of advisors including doctors, herbalists, and experts in using natural herbs and supplements to enhance our daily lives. We only provide information that has been researched, validated, and vetted for our posts and includes validation from experts in the herbal community.  A person of interest on our team is:
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, and Nutritional Health Consultant. Cindy helps individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness, and happiness. She is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur of several businesses. Cindy is a contributing writer and blogger for More Natural Healing & Renewed Health Alliance

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