Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Basonym of Drug:

The botanical name Glycyrrhiza glabra is widely accepted as the correct nomenclature for Yashtimadhu.

Main Sanskrit Synonyms:

In the world of Ayurveda, Yashtimadhu is known by several Sanskrit synonyms, each highlighting its distinctive properties and uses. Some of the prominent synonyms include:

  • Yashtimadhu: This term translates to “sweet root,” emphasizing the plant’s sweet taste and root’s medicinal significance.
  • Madhuka/Madhurika: Referring to its sweet taste.
  • Ati-Madhu: Indicating the excessive sweetness of the root.
  • Klitaka: It cures male infertility.

Regional Names (Vernacular Names):

Yashtimadhu is recognized by various regional names in India, reflecting its popularity and usage across different languages and cultures. Some of these names include:

  • Hindi: Mulethi
  • English: Licorice
  • Tamil: Athimadhuram
  • Telugu: Atimadhuramu
  • Kannada: Jestamadhu
  • Bengali: Jethimadh
  • Marathi: Jeshtimadh
  • Gujarati: Jethimadh

Scientific Classification of Dravya:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Genus: Glycyrrhiza
  • Species: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Classical Classification of Dravya (Gana):

Charaka Samhita: Asthapanopaga, Chhardinigrahana, Kanthya, Kandughna, Jeevaniya, Varnya, Sandhaneeya, Shonitasthapana, Mutravirajaneeya, Snehopaga, Vamanopaga.  

Sushruta Samhita: Anjanadi, Kakolyadi, Sarivadi

Vagbhata: Sarivadi, Anjanadi

Bhavprakash Nighantu: Haritakyadi Varga

External Morphology:

Yashtimadhu is a perennial herb that grows up to 1-2 meters in height. It features compound leaves with 9-17 leaflets, and its flowers are pale blue to purple in color. The plant’s root, which is its most valued part, is long, cylindrical, and sweet in taste.

Useful Parts:

The root of Yashtimadhu is the most utilized part for its medicinal properties. It contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which imparts its characteristic sweetness.

Important Phytoconstituents:

The primary active compound in Yashtimadhu is glycyrrhizin, a triterpenoid saponin responsible for its sweetness. 

  1. Glycyrrhizin: Glycyrrhizin is the most significant and well-studied phytoconstituent in Yashtimadhu. It is a triterpene glycoside that imparts the characteristic sweet taste to licorice. Glycyrrhizin is responsible for many of the herb’s therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, and immune-modulating effects.

  2. Flavonoids: Yashtimadhu contains various flavonoids, including liquiritin, isoliquiritin, and liquiritigenin. Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. They contribute to the overall health benefits of Yashtimadhu.

  3. Chalcones: Chalcones such as isoliquiritin apioside are present in Yashtimadhu. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and contribute to the herb’s overall therapeutic potential.

  4. Coumarins: Yashtimadhu contains coumarins like glabridin, which possess antioxidant properties and have potential effects on skin health and pigmentation.

  5. Sterols: Sterols, including beta-sitosterol, have been identified in Yashtimadhu. Beta-sitosterol has been studied for its cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties.

  6. Triterpenes: Apart from glycyrrhizin, Yashtimadhu contains other triterpenes like oleanolic acid and ursolic acid. These compounds have shown anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and anti-cancer activities.

  7. Polysaccharides: Yashtimadhu contains various polysaccharides, which contribute to its immune-modulating effects and its potential to support the respiratory and digestive systems.

Rasa Panchaka (Five Predominant Tastes):

Rasa (Predominant Taste): Madhura (Sweet)

Guna (Property): Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Unctuous)

Veerya (Potency): Sheeta (Cooling)

Vipaka (Post-digestive Effect): Madhura (Sweet)

Prabhava: Vayassthapana (Anti-aging), Hepatoprotective

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala:

Dosha: Yashtimadhu primarily balances Pitta and Vata doshas due to its cooling and soothing properties. 

Dhatu (Tissue): It nourishes various tissues, especially the plasma (Rasa), blood (Rakta), and reproductive tissues (Shukra).

Mala (Waste Products): Yashtimadhu supports healthy elimination of waste products through its gentle laxative and detoxifying properties.

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications):

  1. Kasa (Cough) and Shwasa (Respiratory Disorders): Yashtimadhu has expectorant and bronchodilatory properties, making it beneficial in managing respiratory conditions like cough, bronchitis, and asthma. It helps expel mucus, soothe the respiratory passages, and ease breathing.

  2. Pitta Disorders: Yashtimadhu has a cooling and soothing effect on the body, making it useful in conditions related to excess Pitta dosha, such as acidity, ulcers, and inflammation.

  3. Grahani Roga (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): Yashtimadhu’s demulcent and anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the digestive tract, making it beneficial in managing Grahani Roga, a condition associated with gastrointestinal discomfort and irregular bowel movements.

  4. Vrana (Wounds) and Bhagna (Fractures): Yashtimadhu’s wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties are used to promote the healing of wounds and fractures when applied externally.

  5. Amlapitta (Hyperacidity): Due to its cooling nature, Yashtimadhu is used to alleviate symptoms of hyperacidity, such as heartburn and acid reflux.

  6. Prameha (Diabetes): Yashtimadhu is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels and support the management of diabetes, especially when used in combination with other herbs.

  7. Udara Roga (Abdominal Disorders): Its soothing properties make Yashtimadhu beneficial in alleviating abdominal discomfort, bloating, and flatulence.

  8. Raktapitta (Bleeding Disorders): Yashtimadhu’s astringent and cooling properties are used to manage bleeding disorders like Raktapitta, which involves spontaneous bleeding.

  9. Visha (Poisoning) and Visarpa (Erysipelas): Yashtimadhu’s detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects are employed to manage conditions related to toxins and skin inflammations.

  10. Visha Harana (Detoxification): Yashtimadhu is included in formulations to aid in detoxification and cleansing the body of accumulated toxins.

  11. Stress and Anxiety: Its adaptogenic properties help manage stress and anxiety by promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.

  12. Netra Roga (Eye Disorders): Yashtimadhu is used in Ayurvedic eye drops and washes to alleviate eye discomfort and promote eye health.

  13. Krimi (Worm Infestations): Its anthelmintic properties make Yashtimadhu useful in managing intestinal worm infestations.

  14. Cardiac Disorders: Yashtimadhu is believed to have cardioprotective effects and may be used to support heart health.

  15. Aphrodisiac Properties: In some formulations, Yashtimadhu is included for its aphrodisiac properties to support sexual health and vitality.

  16. Menopausal Symptoms: Yashtimadhu can help in managing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings.

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose):

Yashtimadhu can be taken in various forms, such as powder, decoction, and churna (powdered form). The recommended dosage can vary based on the individual’s constitution, the specific condition being treated, and the form of the herb. Generally, a common dosage ranges from 3 to 6 grams per day, divided into multiple doses.

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations):

  • Yashtimadhu Churna: Powder of Yashtimadhu root.
  • Yashtimadhu Ghrita: Medicated ghee prepared with Yashtimadhu.
  • Kumkumadi Tailam: Useful for glowing skin.
  • Chyawanprash: Useful for respiratory problems and low immunity.

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects):

When used in moderation and under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner, Yashtimadhu is generally safe. However, excessive consumption may lead to result in fluid retention, weight gain, or sluggishness.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures):

If any adverse effects occur due to overconsumption, it’s recommended to reduce the intake and consult an Ayurvedic physician. Drinking warm water with ginger or balancing Kapha-pacifying diet can help mitigate symptoms.

Shodhana (Purification Method):

Yashtimadhu does not usually require specific purification methods. However, selecting high-quality, organically grown roots is essential to ensure the purity and effectiveness of the herb.

In conclusion, Yashtimadhu, with its sweet taste and cooling properties, offers a wide range of therapeutic benefits in Ayurveda. Its ability to balance doshas, support various tissues, and manage several health conditions makes it a valuable herb in traditional medicine. As always, it’s important to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using Yashtimadhu, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking other medications.

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Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any other medical condition.

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