Mucoprotective

Early investigation into the mucoprotective qualities of licorice led to the development of an anti-inflammatory and antiulcer medication, carbenoxolone, an ester derivative of GA, used to treat gastric and oesophageal ulcer disease. Researchers have suggested that it may exert its mucoprotective effects by increasing mucosal blood flow as well as mucus production, and by interfering with gastric prostanoid synthesis (Guslandi 1985). Animal studies indicate that licorice preparations such as DGL improve the environment in the stomach by increasing mucus production, thereby allowing for proliferation of tissue and healing to occur. DGL increases mucus production by increasing the number of fundus glands and the number of mucus-secreting cells on each gland (van Marie et al 1981).

The increase in mucus production seen with carbenoxolone and licorice appears to occur in a number of epithelial tissues other than the digestive tract. It has been reported in the lungs and also bladder, according to in vivo studies (Mooreville et al 1983), and in the trachea, accounting for its expectorant properties (Bradley 1992).

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