Glycyrrhizic acid (GA), a triterpene isolated from the roots and rhizomes of licorice, named
Glycyrrhiza glabra, is the principal bioactive ingredient of anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective
effects. GA has been used in the clinical treatment of hepatitis, bronchitis, gastric ulcer, AIDS
(acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), certain cancers and skin diseases. It has a direct effect on
anti-HBV (hepatitis B virus) via affecting the HBsAg (hepatitis B surface antigen) to extracellular secretion,
improving liver dysfunction in patients with chronic hepatitis B, and ultimately improving the
immune status of HBV. GA can significantly inhibit the proliferation of HIV, showing an immune activation.
The clinical application of GA on the prevention and treatments of various diseases may derive
from its numerous pharmacological properties. This review provides the summary of the antiviral
effects of GA on research progress and mechanism in recent years.
Keywords: Glycyrrhizic acid, antiviral effects, hepatitis virus, HIV, influenza virus,
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