Hepatoprotective effect of licorice, the root of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fischer, in alcohol-induced fatty liver disease

Jae Chul Jung, Yun Hee Lee, Sou Hyun Kim, Keuk Jun Kim, Kyung Mi Kim, Seikwan Oh, Young Suk Jung

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83 Scopus citations


Background: Our previous study suggested that licorice has anti-inflammatory activity in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated microglial cells and anti-oxidative activity in tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative liver damage. In this study, we evaluated the effect of licorice on chronic alcohol-induced fatty liver injury mediated by inflammation and oxidative stress. Methods: Raw licorice was extracted, and quantitative and qualitative analysis of its components was performed by using LC-MS/MS. Mice were fed a liquid alcohol diet with or without licorice for 4weeks. Results: We have standardized 70% fermented ethanol extracted licorice and confirmed by LC-MS/MS as glycyrrhizic acid (GA), 15.77±0.34μg/mg; liquiritin (LQ), 14.55±0.42μg/mg; and liquiritigenin (LG), 1.34±0.02μg/mg, respectively. Alcohol consumption increased serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase activities and the levels of triglycerides and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-aα. Lipid accumulation in the liver was also markedly induced, whereas the glutathione level was reduced. All these alcohol-induced changes were effectively inhibited by licorice treatment. In particular, the hepatic glutathione level was restored and alcohol-induced TNF-aα production was significantly inhibited by licorice. Conclusion: Taken together, our data suggests that protective effect of licorice against alcohol-induced liver injury may be attributed to its anti-inflammatory activity and enhancement of antioxidant defense.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT&Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A1005435). This research was also financially supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) through Promoting Regional Specialized Industry (R0002317).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Jung et al.


  • Alcohol-induced liver injury
  • Glutathione
  • Licorice
  • TNF-aα


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