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The licorice extract has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and breath-freshening
properties. The breath freshening properties are due to a reduction in certain chemical end products of
bacterial metabolism known as volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). VSCs are foul smelling and are known to be
responsible for the offensive odor recognized as bad breath. Our research showed that the addition of licorice
root extract lowered the percentage VSC in lab tests and this efficacy was confirmed in human subjects.
There are other breath freshening agents, such as cetylpyridium chloride, but these compounds do not
meet the natural standards in our Stewardship Model. We could also use zinc compounds but zinc can give
toothpaste a metallic taste that is objectionable to some people and is difficult to mask. Tom's of Maine
prefers to use botanicals when possible and let our consumers enjoy the benefits of nature.
Licorice is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s list of ingredients that are "Generally
Recognized As Safe" (GRAS). Tom's of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with pure and
natural ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any
product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not
be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
The documented medicinal use of licorice goes back to the beginnings of recorded history. The
earliest evidence comes from samples of licorice found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, including those
found in the tomb of King Tut (1343-1325 B.C.). Reference to licorice has also been made on Assyrian tablets
dating back to the second or third millennia B.C. and Chinese and Far eastern cultures have been using
licorice extensively in traditional medicine for hundreds of years.
We've set high standards in defining "natural", "sustainable", and "responsible". Stewardship Model
A second opinion is always a good idea.
Visit the American Botanical Council for the latest research on our herbal ingredients. Read the expert research