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Licorice Maff Hot

https://www.ei-resource.org/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/250x250s/57/31/0a/_licorice_130021845798.jpg
Written by Maff     March 15, 2011    
 
7.2
4113   0   0   0   0

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a herb native to parts of Europe and Asia and the root has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. The demulcent (soothing, coating) and expectorant (promoting expulsion of phlegm/mucus from the respiratory tract) properties of licorice are highly valued and it has been utilized in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to liver disease.

Modern medical science has in recent years sought to determine the mechanisms by which licorice exerts its medicinal effects and for which illnesses it is clinically effective. Some of these studies have found licorice to be beneficial while others have not. Medical authorities also advise caution when using whole licorice or licorice extract since one of its active ingredients (glycyrrhizin) alters the metabolism of corticosteroid hormones and excessive use can result in headaches, fluid retention, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart palpitations, and other side-effects.


Conditions for which licorice might be used include:

Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (colds, coughs)
Probably the most common traditional use of licorice. Studies have shown mixed results as to whether it is truly effective for this indication.

Eczema
At least one study has shown that a topical gel containing licorice when applied to the affected area helped reduce the symptoms of eczema including itching, swelling, and redness.

Adrenal Fatigue & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
The glycyrrhizin found in licorice has been shown to block the activity of the enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase which converts various steroid hormones from one form to another, including conversion of cortisol to the less potent cortisone. By this mechanism licorice tends to increase levels of cortisol (and other steroids) in the body and for this reason some healthcare practitioners recommend using licorice for the treatment of conditions which may involve abnormally low levels of cortisol, e.g. adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. There is however a lack of evidence to support this use.

Peptic Ulcers & Gastrointestinal Disorders
A form of licorice with the glycyrrhizin removed, deglycyrrizinated licorice (DGL), is often used to aid in the treatment of peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as indigestion and GERD. DGL can be safely used in higher dosages since it lacks the potentially serious side-effects associated with glycyrrizin. As with other conditions licorice has been used for, studies into its effectiveness for GI disorders have had mixed results but many have shown DGL to be beneficial to some degree without significant side-effects.

Liver Disorders
Some evidence suggests licorice may benefit those with chronic liver disorders and many nutritional supplements formulated to support liver function contain licorice. One study has showed that a metabolite of glycyrrhizin known as glycyrrhetinic acid is liver protective but glycyrrhizin itself was not.


References:

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm
https://www.thieme-connect.com/ejournals/abstract/eced/doi/10.1055/s-2002-34587
http://www.jbc.org/content/280/11/10556.short

 

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Editor reviews

As a long-term chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) sufferer and having had adrenal stress index (ASI) results suggesting low morning cortisol was a possible explanation for my increasing difficulty waking up and getting going in the mornings, I decided to try a short trial of a licorice root supplement.

I took a modest dosage of 250mg/day of a supplement with glycyrrhizin content standardized to 20% for one week. The effect was rapid and pronounced. Within a couple of days I was waking up early, feeling full of energy. I found the sense of energy lasted throughout the day and the licorice altered my diurnal pattern so I was waking early and going to bed early, the opposite of what has become "normal" for me.

After a week I had come to appreciate the ability to wake up early in the morning and feel like I had the drive and energy to accomplish tasks throughout the day but it had become apparent that rather than genuinely having more energy I was actually feeling rather "wired". I found I couldn't switch off and relax even when not engaged in any stressful activities. It was as if my body constantly wanted me to be on the move.

After I stopped taking the licorice supplement the effects I would associate with increased cortisol (being able to wake early) gradually wore off but I have been left feeling I am incapable of relaxing. I also feel my heart is constantly pounding and have increased muscle tension in my neck and shoulders. It is now a number of years since I took the licorice but still these effects remain.

Based on my experience I would say that licorice may well benefit those suffering from ME/CFS and/or adrenal fatigue but is clearly very potent and should be used with caution and only under the guidance of a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner.

Overall rating 
 
7.2
Perceived Effectiveness  
 
9.0
Lack of side effects (tolerability)  
 
3.0
Ease of use  
 
10.0
Value for money  
 
9.0
Would you recommend? 
 
5.0
Maff Reviewed by Maff March 15, 2011
Last updated: March 15, 2011
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (107)

Helped adrenal fatigue & ME/CFS - but not without

As a long-term chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) sufferer and having had adrenal stress index (ASI) results suggesting low morning cortisol was a possible explanation for my increasing difficulty waking up and getting going in the mornings, I decided to try a short trial of a licorice root supplement.

I took a modest dosage of 250mg/day of a supplement with glycyrrhizin content standardized to 20% for one week. The effect was rapid and pronounced. Within a couple of days I was waking up early, feeling full of energy. I found the sense of energy lasted throughout the day and the licorice altered my diurnal pattern so I was waking early and going to bed early, the opposite of what has become "normal" for me.

After a week I had come to appreciate the ability to wake up early in the morning and feel like I had the drive and energy to accomplish tasks throughout the day but it had become apparent that rather than genuinely having more energy I was actually feeling rather "wired". I found I couldn't switch off and relax even when not engaged in any stressful activities. It was as if my body constantly wanted me to be on the move.

After I stopped taking the licorice supplement the effects I would associate with increased cortisol (being able to wake early) gradually wore off but I have been left feeling I am incapable of relaxing. I also feel my heart is constantly pounding and have increased muscle tension in my neck and shoulders. It is now a number of years since I took the licorice but still these effects remain.

Based on my experience I would say that licorice may well benefit those suffering from ME/CFS and/or adrenal fatigue but is clearly very potent and should be used with caution and only under the guidance of a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner.

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