Licorice root, one of the main ingredients of candy licorice, has recently been found to be an effective treatment for canker sores. Licorice is a legume, and its roots were originally snacked on by themselves, straight out of the ground. While licorice is generally known for its sweetness, the unaltered roots themselves and have a rather powerful taste, ranging from sweet to salty. The root extract has long been used medicinally, from tooth powders to cough syrup. The March/April issue of General Dentistry has a study testing licorice root's effectiveness for treating recurrent aphthous ulcers, or as they are more commonly known, canker sores. Here is an extract from the study:
"Recurrent aphthous ulcers (RAU) are a common and painful condition. This article describes a randomized, double-blind clinical trial of an over-the-counter medicated intraoral adhesive patch for treatment of RAU. Subjects were randomly assigned to either an active drug (patch with extract of glycyrrhiza root) or placebo patch treatment group (both n = 23) at onset of a lesion. Lesion size and pain report (unstimulated and stimulated) were assessed at intervals. A no-treatment group (n = 23) also was recruited and assessed similarly. By the eighth day, the ulcer size for the active treatment group was significantly lower (p < 0.05), while the lesions in the no-treatment group increased 13% from baseline. By the fourth day, the active treatment group reported significantly less pre-stimulus pain (p < 0.01); at this point, 81% of this group reported no pre-stimulus pain, compared with 63% of the placebo patch group and 40% of the no-treatment group."
Here is a Science Daily brief on the study, and the whole article from General Dentistry can be seen here. Additionally, some praise for Licorice Root Tea from the pebblesfromheaven and cookalmostanything blogs.