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Is Licorice Safe For Pets?

Herbs For Pets 3 min read
Dried licorice roots, licorice root pieces, and licorice tea all on a tabletop. Is licorice safe for pets?

No, we’re not talking about the sweet treat. We’re talking about the herb. Glycyrrhiza glabra to be exact. Licorice is considered to be one of the most useful herbal medicines for humans, but does it have the same benefits for pets? If it does, is licorice safe for pets? Not to worry, we’re here to help answer these questions!

What is Licorice?

Licorice is a member of the pea family and is a climbing plant. It grows as a woody, perennial plant with dark leaves and cream-colored flowers that resemble pea blossoms. There are multiple types of licorice plants, but Glycyrrhiza glabra is the one most commonly used in herbal medicine. Throughout this blog, when we talk about licorice, we are referring to this specific type.

Licorice is one of the most used herbs in European medicine and has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It grows wild in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia but is now cultivated around the world. The roots of the licorice plant are what is typically used for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Properties of Licorice

Licorice was traditionally used in ancient Greece for asthma and chest problems. Licorice has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as an expectorant (helps expel phlegm), a demulcent (soothing), and a mild laxative.

Licorice has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an expectorant, demulcent, and laxative.

One of the most important compounds in licorice is glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin is a triterpene saponin that has an anti-inflammatory effect when broken down in the gut and can be beneficial for healthy adrenal gland function. This active compound has a similar chemical structure to corticosteroids that are naturally produced by the adrenal gland.

Licorice can help reduce stomach secretions but produces a thick protective mucus for lining the stomach. Licorice’s soothing properties and natural laxative qualities can help ease digestive issues. Licorice is also beneficial for respiratory issues, skin issues, arthritis, and joint issues. Licorice is said to stimulate the immune system and help with blood cleansing.

Close up photo of a bee flying up to licorice blossoms.

How To Use Licorice Safely For Pets

Licorice can be very beneficial for not only humans but for our pets. Just like anything, too much of a good thing can still be too much. Licorice is safe for pets when the dosage is based on their size. It is best to only use licorice when formulated to be at a safe dosage for your pet or under the guidance of your veterinarian.

Licorice in NHV Supplements

Since licorice has so many great properties, it is used in four NHV products; Hairb-Ez, Resp-Aid, Supraglan, TumFlora, and Thyro-Up.

Hairb-Ez is a herbal formula that is helpful for pets with hairballs. It uses herbs like licorice to support digestive health to help hair move through the digestive tract. The expectorant properties of licorice can help cough up hair that has not made it into the digestive tract yet.

Resp-Aid is our main supplement for respiratory health. It uses licorice and other herbs to help soothe discomfort and inflammation of the airways and help cough up phlegm that may be obstructing the airways.

Supraglan is formulated specifically for pets with adrenal disorders. The herbs in this formula have properties that are beneficial for supporting adrenal health which is beneficial for pets with conditions like Addison’s disease.

TumFlora is our main herbal support for irritable bowel disease (IBD) in pets. The herbs found in this formulation can help to soothe the symptoms of IBD, improve natural intestinal flora, and can be beneficial for fighting off infections.

Thyro-Up is our supplement for pets with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland. Licorice is used in this formula to help reduce inflammation, support the immune system. Hypothyroidism can have symptoms like constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea which herbs like licorice can help soothe.


If you have any questions, the NHV pet expert team is here to help you! Click the button below to ask away about herbs, your pet’s health, and so much more!

NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: September 21, 2021

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