Licorice root helps battle chronic fatigue and heartburn
BY SUZY COHEN Dear Pharmacist
Saturday, March 09, 2013
3/09/13 at 5:04 AM
Dear Pharmacist, What is licorice root? I heard it helped with chronic fatigue. - W.W. Dallas
Licorice root is an herbal remedy often used in Chinese traditional medicine. It was used by the Greeks and Romans for ulcers, sore throat, asthma, depression, menopause, arthritis, heartburn, gastrointestinal concerns and various viral infections (like hepatitis and the flu). Unfortunately, licorice candy (mmm, Twizzlers) doesn't have quite the same effect, but hey, that's not to say you couldn't indulge in that every now and then!
Licorice contains healing flavonoids, phytoestrogens, and glycyrrhizin. Some of these compounds block the breakdown of a hormone called cortisol in your body that helps you deal with stress. Many of us are walking around with severe adrenal fatigue, and depending on a few other medical factors, licorice root could be just what you need to help cope with stress. It also happens to boost levels of natural interferon, which is an important component of your immune system helping you defend yourself from infection.
Licorice root helps soothe irritated membranes while removing mucus from your respiratory tract, making it a great adjunctive remedy for cough and cold. The phytoestrogens also mimic the effect of estrogen, which can help with menopausal symptoms, as well as cognitive function, but be careful here because anything that is estrogenic (even mildly so) has the potential to drive certain cancers, especially those of the reproductive tract.
Licorice root is available in many oral dosage forms. Excessive intake of licorice root can exacerbate hypertension and other heart problems by disrupting the salt and water balance. It happens compliments of the glycyrrhizin.
Some companies now make a deglycyrrhizinated form of licorice root. It's called "DGL," and it is great for long-term use and helpful for digestive problems including gastritis, reflux and heartburn. DGL is best taken in a chewable tablet form about 20 minutes before eating your meals.