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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 872139, 15 pages
Review Article

Glycyrrhizic Acid in the Treatment of Liver Diseases: Literature Review

1Key Laboratory of Liver and Kidney Diseases, Institute of Liver Diseases, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Pudong New District, Shanghai 201203, China
2Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
3Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 11 April 2014; Accepted 11 April 2014; Published 13 May 2014

Academic Editor: Kota V. Ramana

Copyright © 2014 Jian-yuan Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Glycyrrhizic acid (GA) is a triterpene glycoside found in the roots of licorice plants (Glycyrrhiza glabra). GA is the most important active ingredient in the licorice root, and possesses a wide range of pharmacological and biological activities. GA coupled with glycyrrhetinic acid and 18-beta-glycyrrhetic acid was developed in China or Japan as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antiallergic drug for liver disease. This review summarizes the current biological activities of GA and its medical applications in liver diseases. The pharmacological actions of GA include inhibition of hepatic apoptosis and necrosis; anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory actions; antiviral effects; and antitumor effects. This paper will be a useful reference for physicians and biologists researching GA and will open the door to novel agents in drug discovery and development from Chinese herbs. With additional research, GA may be more widely used in the treatment of liver diseases or other conditions.