The Difference Between DGL and Regular Licorice Root

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Licorice roots, licorice powder and licorice product
Licorice root is considered calming and nourishing, and also a health support. It is believed to balance the body’s systems, particularly the respiratory, endocrine, and nervous systems. In traditional Chinese medicine(TCM) and Ayurveda licorice is used as a harmonizing herb in formulas. [1]

What is DGL, and how is it different from regular licorice root?

Licorice root and powderDGL is short for deglycyrrhizinated licorice. DGL licorice root is a regular licorice root that has been processed to remove glycyrrhizin, sometimes called glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. Glycyrrhizin is a component of licorice that is known to cause side effects such as blood pressure and electrolyte dysregulation, including elevated sodium levels and decreased potassium levels. [2] Removing glycyrrhizin helps ensure safety, minimize potential side effects, and make it safer for people with blood pressure issues.

Why does it matter that the glycyrrhizin is removed?

DGL is safer than regular licorice root, particularly for people with blood pressure issues, as glycyrrhizin can affect blood pressure homeostasis. Glycyrrhizin can cause other side effects such as electrolyte imbalance, and particularly increased sodium and decreased potassium levels. [2] DGL, with the glycyrrhizin removed, does not pose a risk of affecting blood pressure in individuals with irregular blood pressure. [3] Also, unlike regular licorice root, DGL does not cause electrolyte imbalance, so sodium and potassium levels remain normal.

Is DGL safe?

DGL is safe. Serious adverse effects such as hypertension, electrolyte imbalance, and low potassium levels may occur with regular licorice root, but not with DGL. [4] DGL is also safe for those with high blood pressure, as the glycyrrhizin has been removed.

Is DGL only for the gastrointestinal system?

While historical uses of licorice have included the support of respiratory and other systems, gastrointestinal support and maintenance are the most common use today.

How can DGL help me?

Woman sitting down with eyes closed and one hand on chest

DGL has been used for centuries to support gastrointestinal health. DGL may help soothe, support, and maintain healthy mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract. It may also help maintain and soothe oral mucus membranes [5], as well as healthy esophageal membranes. [6] Additionally, it may help soothe and maintain healthy gastrointestinal mucous membranes, including the duodenum, and may help support and maintain healthy gastrointestinal function.  [7, 8]

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1. Ayurvedic Professionals Association. Licorice [Internet]. Ayurvedic Professionals Association. 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 16]. Available from: 

2. Deutch MR, Grimm D, Wehland M, et al. Bioactive candy: effects of licorice on the cardiovascular system. Foods. 2019; 8(10):495. 

3. Licorice. In: Drugs and lactation database (LactMed). Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2021. 

4. Licorice. In: Natural medicines [database on the Internet]. Somerville (MA): Therapeutic Research Center; 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 15]. Available from:

5. Najafi S, Koujan SE, Manifar S, et al. Preventive effect of Glycyrrhiza glabra extract. J Dent (Tehran). 2017; 14(5):267-74.  

6. Neiworth-Petshow EM, Baldwin-Sayre C. Naturopathic treatment of gastrointestinal dysfunction in the setting of Parkinson’s disease. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2018; 17(4):44-50.  

7. Tewari SN, Trembalowicz FC. Some experience with deglycyrrhizinated liquorice in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers with special reference to its spasmolytic effect. Gut. 1968; 9(1):48-51. 

8. Raveendra KR, Jayachandra, Srinivasa V, et al. An extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra (GutGard) alleviates symptoms of functional dyspepsia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:216970.