Licorice has been used medicinally for its demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative and estrogenic properties. Traditionally, licorice has also been used to relieve asthma, bronchitis, fevers ulcers, and cancers. Today, it is widely used to treat coughs and colds and as a digestive aid. In Japan, physicians have used licorice to treat chronic hepatitis B. Glycyrrhizinic acid (Glycyrrhizin) from licorice interferes with hepatitis B surface antigen and works synergistically with the interferon against hepatitis A virus. Licorice has also been used for treating hepatitis C. Glycyrrhizinic acid is 50 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose) and can be used as a sweetener in functional foods.