Can Eating Licorice Reduce Stress?

by on September 22nd, 2010
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It is not uncommon for most adults to undergo some sort of stress throughout their daily life. Stress may be caused by work environments, financial situations or family issues; however, no matter the cause of stress the end result is a naturally occurring response to stressors.

When you experience wanted or unwanted stimuli, your body reacts by increasing the production of adrenaline, pumping blood faster throughout your body and quickening your breathing. According to Williams College, if you undergo prolonged periods of stress you can experience symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches, irritability as well as eating habit changes.

While treating stress must include lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques, you can also take natural supplements to eliminate stress. Licorice has been used for generations as a medicinal plant, and while the evidence for its use as an anti-stress herb is limited, preliminary studies are promising.

Licorice Active Constituents:

According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center licorice contains a high concentration of isoflavones, flavonoids, triterpenoid saponins, polysaccharide sterols, amino acids, amines and coumarins. The latest research has found that the aforementioned compounds can operate as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, estrogenic and anticancer agent. Although initial evidence is promising, the true effectiveness of licorice for treating various health ailments is currently under debate within the scientific community.

Licorice for Stress Relief:

Researchers at the American Academy of Pain Management states licorice is known as an adaptogen. Basically, the compounds within licorice belong to a select group of chemicals your body uses to adapt to external and internal stressors. According to the latest research, adaptogens work by limiting the damage done to your body due to stress.

Preliminary research states that eating licorice may help supplement endogenous cortisol production. By doing so, the actual production of cortisol is reduced, which means you can experience stress relief and protect your body from the damaging effects of cortisol. While this notion is promising, further research is required to determine the true effectiveness of licorice for stress.

How Much Should You Take?

Determining the proper dosage of licorice is vital as excessive doses can be toxic. Because of this, you should limit your consumption of licorice to a maximum of five grams per day.

To take licorice, you should drink it in tea form. Heat eight ounces of water to a rolling boil, and add one to five grams of dried licorice root directly to the water. Cover, and allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes before straining and drinking up to three servings per day.

References Used:

http://wso.williams.edu/orgs/peerh/stress/stressfacts.html

Williams College – Stress

http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69281.cfm

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Licorice

http://www.aapainmanage.org/literature/PainPrac/V10N3_Sandlow_AdaptationToStress.pdf

American Academy of Pain Management: Adaptation to Stress and Natural Therapies

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm

University of Maryland Medical Center: Licorice


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