The term leishmaniasis encompasses a spectrum of vector-borne protozoan parasitic diseases ranging from self-healing cutaneous to fatal visceral leishmaniasis. The disease affects 12 million people worldwide with 0.5 million new cases per annum. Present antileishmanial chemotherapeutic drugs project limitations because of severe toxicity, lengthy regime and occurrence of resistance, thereby making development of newer, gentler and efficacious therapeutics an urgent need for treatment of leishmaniasis. Application of medicinal plants in treatment of refractory diseases is valued for its clinical efficacy and nontoxicity. The biologically active components derived from them continue to play important roles as chemopreventive agents. Licorice has been known for its medicinal property from ancient times for treatment of various ailments. 18β-Glycyrrhetinic acid, glycyrrhizic acid and licochalcone A are the most extensively studied constituents of licorice in terms of antileishmanial agent. Overall, this chapter is dedicated to highlight the current understanding of the mechanism of these bioactive constituents of licorice, which potentiates them as antileishmanial agents. Furthermore, it also brings to light the importance of folk medicine in curing diseases and thereby gives impetus to explore ancient medicines and thier mode of actions to use them progressively to cure diseases.
Part of the book: Licorice Ingredients