Glycyrrhizinic acid (Glycyrrhizin), a saponin glycoside, is one of the compounds obtained from the root extract of licorice. This molecule has been well known for centuries, in traditional medicine, for its anti-inflammatory activity.
Upon hydrolysis, the glycoside is converted to the aglycone glycyrrhetinic acid. Glycyrrhizinic acid possesses antiviral properties. It has been reported to promote the activation of interferon and to inhibit the growth of several DNA and RNA viruses.
It inactivates Herpes simplex virus particles irreversibly. Glycyrrhizinic acid’s antiviral activity is attributed to its ability to interact with the protein structure of the virus and interfere with its propagation cycle. It inhibits the cytopathic growth and activity of the virus, thus preventing it from attacking healthy cells. Glycyrrhizinic augments host resistance against candida albicans, in subjects with thermal injuries. This is probably by inducing CD4 T cells, which suppress type 2 cytokines produced in burn associated injuries.