DGL tablets, an extract of liquorice root, used for treating dyspepsia
Licorice has been successfully used for around a century to treat peptic and gastric ulcers. Extract of deglycyrrinised licorice root, or DGL, offers the benefits of whole licorice but without the side effects of glycyrrhinic acid (hypertension, oedema or headaches).
Licorice has properties which increase production of prostaglandins in endothelial cells in the stomach, resulting in a cytoprotective effect on gastric mucosa. Animal studies suggest that it reduces the inflammatory response which leads to ulcer formation, by inhibiting the production of inflammatory molecules such as interleukins or tumour necrosing factor. It also has an antioxidant effect which contributes to its efficacy.
Several studies have shown that DGL:
- leads to a significant reduction in ulcer size compared with placebo in patients with gastric ulcers, with complete healing reported in 44% of subjects;
- is as effective as drugs such as Tagamet® or Zantac® in short- or long-term treatment of gastric ulcers, with no side effects;
- reduces aspirin-induced gastric bleeding; it is strongly recommended for those receiving long-term treatment with drugs such as aspirin, corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Reduction to NSAID-induced gastric mucosa damage was significantly greater when DGL was given in combination with the antacid cimetidine than when the latter was given alone;
- produces considerable improvements in patients suffering from chronic duodenal ulcers;
- has a comparable effect to that of antacids or cimetedine in patients with chronic duodenal ulcers. In addition, fewer relapses occur in patients treated with DGL;
- contains various flavonoids that inhibit growth of Helicobacter pylori, including that of strains resistant to the antibiotics amoxycillin and clarithromycin. As a result, scientists recommend DGL as a preventive agent against peptic ulcer or gastric cancer in subjects infected with Helicobacter pylori.
Recommended use: DGL tablets should be chewed as it is activated by enzymes in saliva increasing its beneficial effects.
Chew one or two tablets, as required, 20 minutes before each meal.