Licorice root (glycyrrhiza uralensis) extract

What does it do?

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.

What are the alternatives?

There are other breath freshening agents such as triclosan and 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.

What are the risks?

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.

What is it?

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.

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Expert Herbal Information

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