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Natural Health

This $5 Antioxidant-Packed Tea Can Help Soothe Your Sore Throat

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A soothing cup of tea is one of my go-to remedies when I feel a scratchy throat or a cough coming on. I used to reach for my usual black or green tea — until I learned that sipping licorice root tea is the best way to relieve an inflamed throat. With so many colds and viruses in the air right now, you might want to stock up (I know I’m going to!).

Is licorice tea good for colds?

This unique variety of tea comes from the root of the licorice plant, which is native to Europe and Asia and known as Glycyrrhiza glabra. It’s made using a strain of the plant called glycyrrhizin, and contains deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). With a flavor that’ll remind you of black licorice (it’s got notes of peppermint and anise), it’s the ideal health-boosting winter sip.

A study published in the journal Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B noted that licorice is packed with about 300 antioxidants called flavonoids. These flavonoids, including glycyrrhizin and glabridin, have anti-inflammatory and antiviral perks, which help keep sinus pressure at bay and boost your immune system. Previous research has shown they’re effective for soothing sore throats as well because they help eliminate infectious bacteria that cause it in the first place.

There’s also some exciting new research on the horizon in the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials suggesting that licorice root tea can help ease other cold symptoms like coughing and hoarseness. But if you’re like me, you’ll want to try licorice root tea for yourself to see if it really stands up against colds. Here are some things to keep in mind before doing so.

How much licorice tea should you drink?

If you’re a regular tea drinker, you might want to enjoy in smaller amounts. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that consuming too much glycyrrhizic acid from licorice root can cause negative side effects, including increased blood pressure and decreased potassium levels. And a little of this tea goes a long way: According to a case report published in Endocrine Abstracts, just a half cup per day is enough to reap the immune-boosting benefits. However, I checked the product description on the licorice tea I tried (Traditional Medicinals Organic Licorice Root Tea — Buy from iHerb.com, $4.62) and it said it’s fine to enjoy one to three cups a day. If you’re concerned about how much licorice root tea is safe to drink, speak with your doctor.

A great thing about the Traditional Medicinals licorice root tea is that it’s caffeine-free, which means it won’t make you feel jittery and you can drink it in the evening without it keeping you up at night. Plus, it comes in handy tea bags to make brewing a breeze.

Traditional Medicinals Organic Licorice Root Tea 

Organic licorice root tea
iHerb

Buy from iHerb, $4.62

Why we like it:

  • Contains organic licorice root
  • Has a sweet and earthy flavor
  • Caffeine-free

Happy customer: “I have been drinking this tea for a few months and it really a good tea. It soothes the throat and seems to help sleep you better. I feel more energetic as well. Highly recommend.”

The next time I’m feeling under the weather, I’ll be sure to steep a mug of licorice root tea for much-needed relief for the rest of cold season!

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