More studies are needed before it is proven that the compounds effectively fight cavities in humans, caution Qing-Yi Lu, Ph.D., a chemist at UCLA's School of Medicine, and Wenyuan Shi, Ph.D, a microbiologist at UCLA's School of Dentistry. If further studies show promise, the licorice compounds could eventually be used as cavity-fighting components in mouthwash or toothpaste, they say.
Licorice has been an important herb in Chinese medicine for many years and is now being rediscovered by Western medicine as a rich source of potentially beneficial compounds. In addition to being used as flavoring and sweetening agents in candy, tobaccos and beverages, compounds derived from licorice root have been shown to help fight inflammation, viruses, ulcers and even cancer, according to the researchers.
The American Chemical Society – the world's largest scientific society – is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
The online version of the research paper cited above was initially published Jan. 7 on the journal's Web site. Journalists can arrange access to this site by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the contact person for this release.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.