Don't try this at home, but researchers have found that a compound from licorice root (glycyrrhizin from Glycyrrhiza glabra) seems to help fight bad infections that arise from severe burns. So far tested only in mice, glyrrhizen boosted the ability of damaged skin to create the small proteins - antimicrobial peptides - needed to defend against infections. The investigators at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Hospital for Children compared the skin of burned mice that was treated with glycyrrhizin with the skin of untreated mice and that of mice that hadn't been burned. The untreated mice had an inability to produce the peptides needed to prevent infection - but the unburned mice and the ones treated with glycyrrhizin had normal amounts of the antimicrobial peptides. The researchers said that they hoped their work would lead to lower death rates from infections in burn patients. The study was published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.