Menopause : licorice is not without risk

Health 21 August, 2017


Published the 21.08.2017 at 18h38


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The home remedies are not always benign. To limit the symptoms related to menopause (hot flashes, headaches…) and avoid taking hormone treatments, it is sometimes advisable to consume all the days of the solutions with a base of licorice root, or supplements that contain it.
The idea underlying this suggestion is based on the benefits of the glycyrrhizin, an active compound of licorice, which seems to have the ability to regulate the levels of estrogen in women.

If it is not a question of denying the benefits of the glycyrrhizin, recognized by the traditional medicines, it should be alert on the risks associated with this plan.
Scientists have carried out that confirm the toxicity of licorice taken in high doses daily. Something that we already knew : the United States, the FDA recommends not to overdo the licorice and be wary of its side effects (cardiac arrhythmia, muscle fatigue…).

Enzymes inhibited

But the study also shows a risk of drug interaction at lower doses, which should alert the consumers. “We asked ourselves if small amounts of licorice in the framework of a supplementation everyday could lead to problems by interfering with the metabolism of drugs and their circulation” in the body, explain the researchers, from the University of Chicago.

The answer is yes. Indeed, the activity of liver enzymes responsible for the treatment drugs may find themselves inhibited by glycyrrhizin, the researchers say. This induces a slower process and less control of the future of the drug in the body.

These metabolic changes may generate a health risk, explain the researchers, who call for the vigilance of the women supplemented with liquorice and under drug treatment.