Licorice plant extracts may be a new treatment option for people suffering from canker sores, according to a new study.
Researchers have suggested that canker sores, scientifically known as recurrent aphthous ulcers (RAU) can be treated by an extract in licorice root herbal extract.
During the study, authors examined the effects of an over-the-counter medicated adhesive patch with extract from the licorice root for treatment of RAU versus no treatment.
The findings showed that after seven days of treatment, ulcer size in the group who received the adhesive patch with licorice extract was significantly lower, while ulcer size in the no-treatment group had increased 13 percent.
Licorice root extract was being used for treating gastric ulcers until the 1970s.
Michael Martin, DMD, PhD, lead author of the study believes that genetic predisposition might be the biggest cause of canker sores
"When both parents have a history of canker sores, the likelihood of their children developing them can be as high as 90 percent," he added.
Canker sores are often accompanied by sharp pain in the mouth, which can affect their eating, drinking or speech.
He also said "in addition to speeding healing of the canker sores, the adhesive patch helped to reduce pain after just three days of treatment."
Those who experience canker sores on a regular basis can visit their dentist for treatment.
"Dentists can give patients the proper medication and treatment options to seal the lesions, which will prevent further infection," said Eric Shapira, DDS, MAGD, AGD spokesperson and expert on alternative medicine.
"Also, increasing vitamins and other herbs, such as Vitamin C and zinc, can help treat canker sores because they help to regenerate tissue cells," Dr. Shapira added.