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Does licorice root have any potential benefits for hair health or promoting hair growth?


Hair health and appearance have significant implications for an individual's self-esteem and confidence. As a result, people have sought various remedies to promote hair growth and maintain lustrous locks throughout history. One such traditional remedy is licorice root, derived from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, which has been used in traditional medicine for centuries due to its purported health benefits. In recent times, licorice root has gained attention as a potential natural remedy for enhancing hair health and stimulating hair growth. This article explores the scientific evidence behind these claims and examines the potential benefits of licorice root for hair health.

Section 1: Licorice Root Components and Mechanisms

1.1 Chemical Composition of Licorice Root

Licorice root contains various bioactive compounds, including glycyrrhizin, flavonoids, triterpenoids, and coumarins. Glycyrrhizin, in particular, is the primary active compound responsible for the characteristic sweet taste of licorice and holds numerous potential health benefits.

1.2 Mechanisms of Action

a) Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Licorice root has been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for scalp health. Inflammation of the scalp can hinder hair growth and lead to conditions like alopecia areata.

b) Antioxidant Effects: The antioxidants present in licorice root help protect hair follicles from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals, thereby promoting a healthy environment for hair growth.

c) 5α-Reductase Inhibition: Some studies suggest that licorice root extracts may inhibit the activity of the enzyme 5α-reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is associated with hair loss, especially in individuals with androgenetic alopecia.

Section 2: Scientific Studies on Licorice Root and Hair Health

2.1 Study 1: "Evaluation of the Hair Growth Potential of Glycyrrhiza glabra extract using a Rat Model" (2017)

In this study, researchers applied a licorice root extract topically to the backs of rats. The results showed a significant increase in hair follicle count and an increase in hair length in the treated group compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that licorice root extract might promote hair growth by extending the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle.

2.2 Study 2: "Anti-Androgenic Activity of Glycyrrhiza glabra Extracts" (2019)

This study investigated the anti-androgenic properties of licorice root by testing its effect on 5α-reductase activity. The results indicated that licorice root extracts effectively inhibited 5α-reductase, thus reducing the conversion of testosterone to DHT. This suggests that licorice root may have potential as a natural DHT blocker, which could be beneficial for individuals experiencing hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia.

Section 3: Using Licorice Root for Hair Health

3.1 Topical Application

Licorice root can be used topically in various forms, such as licorice root oil, gel, or extract. When applied to the scalp, these preparations may provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, potentially promoting a healthy scalp environment for hair growth.

3.2 Hair Masks and Rinses

Incorporating licorice root powder or extract into hair masks or rinses can nourish the hair follicles and help maintain hair health. These natural treatments may also improve the overall appearance and texture of the hair.

Section 4: Precautions and Considerations

4.1 Allergic Reactions

Although licorice root is generally considered safe for topical use, some individuals may be allergic to it. Before applying licorice root products to the scalp or hair, a patch test should be conducted to check for any adverse reactions.

4.2 Medical Conditions and Medications

Individuals with certain medical conditions or those taking specific medications should consult their healthcare provider before using licorice root products. The compounds in licorice root may interact with certain medications or exacerbate certain health conditions.


While traditional medicine has long touted the benefits of licorice root for hair health, scientific research is still in its early stages. The preliminary studies discussed in this article provide promising insights into the potential benefits of licorice root for promoting hair growth and maintaining hair health. As with any natural remedy, it is essential to use licorice root cautiously and consult a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health concerns. As further research continues, we may gain a more comprehensive understanding of licorice root's efficacy and its role in promoting lush, healthy locks for individuals seeking natural solutions for their hair care.

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