Gan Cao

Gan Cao in TCM:

English Name: licorice root
Pharmacuetical Name: Radix Glycyrrhizae
Properties: sweet, neutral
Explore the properties of Gan Cao according to Chinese
Nutrition and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):

Temperature: neutral
Channels: LU, ST, SP, HT
Flavors: sweet
Tonifies: qi
Regulates: disperses cold, clears heat, eliminates toxins, resolves phlegm, resolves dryness

    Alternate Forms:
  • sheng - clear heat and relieve fire toxicity, dispels phlegm
  • zhi- tonify middle, moderate spasms, moistens LU

Actions / Indications:
  • Tonifies SP and HT qi (lassitude, loose stools, qi and blood deficiency with irregular or intermittent pulse and/or palpitations, shortness of breath, zang zao)
  • Dispels phlegm, Stop cough (wheezing with phlegm; coughing; heat or cold in LU; can also moisten LU, use for cough without phlegm)
  • Clears heat; Relieves Toxicity; Treats Poison ( sores throat due to fire toxin, carbuncles, used internally or topically; used as antidote for variety of toxic substances including food, herbs, and drugs)
  • Moderates Spasms; alleviates Pain (abdominal pain due to deficiency or cold of middle jiao, painful spasms of abdomen or legs)
  • Moderates and Harmonizes properties of other herbs (moderates harshness of other herbs; harmonizes middle jiao in combination with other herbs, particularly with sheng jiang)
  • (cc: excess dampness; nausea and vomiting)
  • (cc: incompatible with harsh expellants gan sui, yuan hua, and da ji)
  • (cc: according to shi ba fan incompatible with hai zao)
  • (cc: long term overdose can lead to hypertension or edema)

    Other Notes:
  • Pharmacologically Gan Cao is a mineralcorticoid (increases re-absorption of sodium and water), glucocorticoid (enhances effect of coritsone), anti-inflammatory, antiarrythmic, immuno-stimulant, gastrointestinal aid, antispasmodic, antitoxin, and is also hepatoprotective.