Board index Botanical Medicine Medicinal Herbs Licorice


General discussion of medicinal plants and their use.

Post Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:11 pm

Posts: 179
After a discussion with another forum member by email, it concerns me that the herb Licorice could be misused. The wonders of Licorice are vast and too extensive to talk about in one post. For all its good:
As you can see, it's definitely a herb to grow. But like Doc Jones says: avoid during pregnancy or in cases of hypertension. (Plus oestrogen-sensitive cancers/conditions; cortisol related diseases)

There are serious contraindications.

Sexual problems in men: Licorice can lower a man’s interest in sex and also worsen erectile dysfunction (ED) by lowering levels of a hormone called testosterone.

Licorice can cause hypokalemia, and is contraindicated in persons with high blood pressure.
Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid which inhibits 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase which allows cortisol to exert an aldosterone like effect; ie cortisol is not metabolized to cortisone and this stimulates sodium retention and potassium wastage.

Licorice can cause the body to store water, and this can make congestive heart failure worse. Licorice can also increase the risk of irregular heartbeat.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Licorice might act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use licorice.

If you're pregnant, licorice can interfere with the natural barriers that prevent your stress hormones from crossing the placenta to the fetus. According to a study published in 2010 in the medical journal "Psychoneuroendocrinology," this exposure to stress hormones can lead to higher levels of stress hormones in your child after he's born.

It can cause problems with the placenta allowing more stress hormones to get to the baby which slows brain development and bub is more likely to get problems such as ADHD, it also may cause pre term labour.

I know, it sounds bad :crying: but remember it's also a wonder herb that acts synergistically with other herbs in POSITIVE WAYS. Here's one of my Glycyrrhiza glabra. I grow Chinese licorice too.
image.jpg (159.61 KiB) Viewed 3104 times

Post Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:17 pm

Posts: 179
Licorice also prevents the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol (the body's primary stress-fighting adrenal hormone). I wouldn't give it to anyone under stress from work, play, or accident, or anyone with Cushing's syndrome.

10 Signs You Have WAY Too Much Cortisol ... h-cortisol

1. You’re not sleeping well.

Cortisol levels are supposed to drop at nighttime, allowing your body to relax and recharge. But if your cortisol levels are too high, you might notice that, even if you’ve been tired all day, you get a second wind right around bedtime. Then you toss and turn all night – and feel tired again the next day.

2. Even when you sleep well, you’re still tired.

Over time, high levels of cortisol deplete the adrenal glands and predispose you to chronic fatigue. So if you feel like your get up and go got up and went, you’re probably stressed.

3. You’re gaining weight, especially around your abdomen, even when you eat well and exercise.

Cortisol tends to make you thick around the middle, even when you’re doing everything “right.”

4. You catch colds and other infections easily.

Cortisol deactivates your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms, which means that your immune system which is perfectly designed by nature to keep you healthy goes caput, leaving you vulnerable to every cootie you encounter.

5. You crave unhealthy foods.

Cortisol raises your blood sugar, putting you at risk of diabetes. High glucose levels then bump up your insulin levels, which then drop your blood sugar – and all of a sudden – yes, you guessed it – you’re struck with wild cravings for Twinkies.

6. You experience backaches and headaches.

When your cortisol levels are high over a long period of time, your adrenal glands start to get depleted. This raises prolactin levels, increasing the body’s sensitivity to pain, such as backaches and muscle aches. Excessive cortisol also hypersensitizes the brain to pain, such that even the slightest twinge can excite the nerves of the brain, causing headaches.

7. Your sex drive is in the crapper.

Consider cortisol the anti-Viagra. When stress hormones are high, libido-inducing hormones like testosterone drop and voila… nothing.

8. Your gut acts up.

Your gastrointestinal system is very sensitive to stress hormones like cortisol. You might experience nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or constipation as a result of too many stress hormones.

9. You feel anxious.

Cortisol and epinephrine can lead to jitters, nervous stomach, feelings of panic, even paranoia.

10. You feel blue.

High levels of cortisol suppress production of serotonin, and next thing you know, you’re awash in doom and gloom.

Post Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:50 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1109
Yup, being aware of the contraindications is important. Using in moderation and only for the time needed is important too. Give your body a fast from herbs, especially those that CAN be harmful.

Also remember that even the most common and important herbs, including some basic foodstuffs, have components that can be harmful if used in excess.

I do believe that CHOCOLATE is one of them! :scared:

Post Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:33 am

Posts: 179
And then there's this....

One advantage of wild Licorice ( Glycyrrhiza lepidota) is that it does not contain near the amount of glycyrrhizin as the other licorice species, nor does it have the same hypertensive effects on the body. ... e-roots/73

Daniel Mowrey, in his Herbal Tonic Therapies, suggests that the side effects from licorice are all from extracts and not from any use of the whole plant, that is, the ground root taken in capsules.

I'd love to see research on herbs done with the whole herb. There probably wouldn't be anywhere near the contraindications mentioned if this was done.

Post Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:31 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1109
I agree on the WHOLE HERB theory. Plants are smart and God is even smarter and he made the plants!

Would you consider a tincture an "extract" or does that term actually refer to isolating factors?

Post Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:28 am

Posts: 179
I wish he'd explained further on his idea of an extract.
1. Some say an extract is a tincture
2. Others say an extract is made from a tincture that has all the liquids evaporated off leaving the solids as a high dose medication.
3. An extract could possibly be considered an extraction of a certain substance from a herb.

It's all very vague what he meant.
I would class a tincture as a whole herb medicine.
But I would class an alchemical elixir as the premium medication.

Return to Medicinal Herbs