Glycyrrhizin is the main active component extracted from licorice roots, one of the most widely used herbal preparations for the cure of liver diseases. The reported useful activities of glycyrrhizin on liver tissue include; 1-stabilization of hepatic cellular membranes, 2-inhibition of production of PGE2, 3- augmentation of the effects of Interferon.
Licorice Root and Liver Health
In one study, participants who took a combination of licorice, silymarin (milk thistle), and different other herbs had improved measures of liver enzymes and tests of liver function. The key therapeutic element of licorice root is glycyrrhizin, which is found in the rhizome. To treat hepatitis clinical trials in Japan have used a licorice root extract (glycyrrhizin) to treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and have showed that glycyrrhizin reduces liver illness. Glycyrrhizin may be beneficial as a therapy for chronic hepatitis, and a Japanese study found that patients with chronic hepatitis C who took this supplement had lower risk of liver cancer. In Japan, glycyrrhizin, was found to be so successful in treating hepatitis that it was written up in at least three scientific journals.
A 1997 study showed that glycyrrhizin may help prevent the development of liver cancer in patients with chronic hepatitis C. In a 1998 review of several studies, scientists reported that therapy with glycyrrhizin is effective in easing liver disease in some patients. In lab animals, licorice root water extracts can prevent liver damage that heavy metals had caused, according to a study reported in the June 2009 edition of the Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Licorice root may be able to protect liver from damage according to a study at “Seoul National University College of Pharmacology” that was reported in the Aug 2010 edition of Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. A study performed at the “Shanxi Medical College” in China found licorice reduced triglyceride accumulation in the liver, increased glycogen levels, inhibited the development of cirrhosis, and prevented the growth of experimentally-induced lesions in the liver.
Stronger Neo-Minophagen C
Glycyrrhizin has been used in Japan for a long while as a therapy for chronic hepatitis disease. A glycyrrhizin containing preparation (Stronger Neo-Minophagen C), consisting of 0.2 % glycyrrhizin, 0.1 % cysteine and 2.0 % glycine in physiological saline solution, is used intravenously in Japan for the therapy of hepatitis. A daily injection of glycyrrhizin (Stronger Neo-Minophagen C containing 40 mg glycyrrhizin in a 20 mL ampoule) reduces ALT levels in people with chronic viral hepatitis. In 1977, intravenous injection with Stronger Neo-Minophagen C was started in patients with chronic hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, most of whom have turned out to be infected with hepatitis viruses. The researches performed in Europe have shown the effectiveness of Stronger Neo-Minophagen C in improving abnormal hepatic function in people with chronic hepatitis C where interferon treatment does not work. The findings of the studies were presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases conference in Nov 2007.
In a multicenter double-blind study, ALT levels decreased in the patients who received 40 ml/day of Stronger Neo-Minophagen C for four weeks at a rate significantly higher than controls receiving placebo. Shown to be efficient in preventing the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in chronic hepatitis C individuals. In two clinical trials, Stronger Neo-Minophagen C has been shown to significantly lower alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) concentrations, while simultaneously ameliorating histologic evidence of necrosis and inflammatory lesions in the liver. In a clinical trial; patients with chronic hepatitis received 40 ml per day of Stronger Neo-Minophagen C for 4 weeks, while control group received placebo. The scientists discovered that liver cirrhosis occurred less frequently in 178 patients on long-term Stronger Neo-Minophagen C than in 100 controls; 28% versus 40%. Other than this, hepatocellular carcinoma developed less frequently in the 84 patients on long-term Stronger Neo-Minophagen C than in the 109 controls. Another study; 28 participants were randomized to receive either continued interferon-a alone or interferon in combination with Stronger Neo-Minophagen C for twelve more weeks. At the end of the study period, alanine transaminase (ALT) levels had normalized in 33% of participants treated with interferon monotherapy versus 64% of participants treated with a combination of interferon and Stronger Neo-Minophagen C. Furthermore, HCV RNA became undetectable in 13% of participants treated with interferon monotherapy versus 39% of participants treated with a combination of interferon and Stronger Neo-Minophagen C.