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Licorice Root for Menopause:  Benefits, Precautions, Side Effects

Licorice root is one of my favorite herbs for menopause.  It tastes great in extract form (unlike many other herbs), and keeps me from getting up two or three times a night to go to the bathroom.  The reason is that licorice root helps the adrenal glands and kidneys.  In addition to reducing frequent urination, this herb is anti inflammatory, especially in the digestive tract, and mildly estrogenic (it helps promote estrogen production).  It can help with fatigue due to it's support of the adrenal glands. 

Your adrenal glands take over production of female hormones (estrogen, progesterone) after your ovaries shut down, so if they are not functioning well, you will have more symptoms and they will be more intense.  Many women, especially in the Westernized world, have stressed-out adrenal glands.  Licorice root can help with that condition.

However, this is not an herb to be used long-term without a break.  Use it for a few weeks, then take a break for a few weeks.  Do not take in large amounts or for more than 4 weeks consecutively.  

Licorice is a bush that grows is in different areas around the world.  There is a similar plant that grows in California and other Western areas, but it has more mild actions on the body.

The root is a source of niacin, chromium, magnesium and silicon.  Niacin helps metabolize carbohydrates, helps maintain normal blood pressure, and helps in your digestive tract.  Chromium is lacking in most people's diets, and helps control blood sugar.  Magnesium is important in many bodily functions, and especially important for protecting your heart.

Side Effects

Paradoxically, use of this herb may increase blood pressure and other heart problems.  It can cause headaches and salt and water retention, and reduce potassium levels.


Do not take in pregnancy.

Do not take with diuretics or corticosteroids.

If you have high blood pressure or heart disease (especially congenital heart failure), use with caution.

Do not take in large amounts or for more than 4 weeks straight.

Preparation and Dosage

My preferred preparation is the whole herbal extract, 1 – 3 dropper-fulls per day (a dropper full is about 30-4- drops)

You can also make an infusion from the dried root.  Chop it up in small pieces.  Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of root.  Cover (best to use a jar for this) and steep for thirty minutes.  Drink one to three cups per day.

My very favorite is Herb Pharm's licorice extract.

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