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Licorice root may contain anti-diabetic properties

In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, substances called amorfrutins from the licorice plant’s root have now been found to reduce blood sugar levels in mice. Furthermore, the German study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found the substance helped prevent the mice from developing a fatty liver and improved insulin resistance, leading scientists to suggest that licorice root could be used in the treatment of complex metabolic disorders.

In their study, the amorfrutins worked by activating various genes that reduced the plasma concentration of certain fatty acids and glucose, researchers said. The reduced glucose level, in turn, prevented the development of insulin resistance. However, scientists point out that the concentration of amorfrutins is too low to be effective in sweets or tea. Extracting the nutrients in large concentrations,  could be used on an industrial scale.

Earlier this year, another study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that two substances in licorice were able to kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.

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