Cortisol is one of the most essential hormones produced by your body. This hormone is manufactured by your adrenal glands, and one of its primary responsibilities is to support the regulation of other hormones as well as supporting your body during moments of internal and external stress. If you have low cortisol levels, this lack of hormone could be derived from Addison’s disease.
If you have low cortisol levels in your body, consuming licorice root may help enhance blood cortisol levels. While proponents of licorice claim that this herb can help enhance cortisol levels, the scientific community is currently investigating the true value of licorice for cortisol. Because licorice can cause adverse health reactions when used as a supplement, make sure you discuss the safety and dosage recommendations with your physician.
What is Licorice Root?
For thousands of years, humans have turned to licorice root to help treat and potentially heal a variety of health ailments. Some of the most popular uses of licorice root include treating liver disease, reducing cold symptoms and helping to remove mucous and phlegm from your respiratory tract. While licorice root is still used to treat these conditions today, modern scientific data does not fully support its traditional practice.
According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center the primary active constituent found in licorice root is a compound known as glycyrrhizin. Other active compounds found in licorice root include amino acids, isoflavones, polysaccharides and flavonoids.
Evidence of Use:
One of the primary suggested use of licorice root is to treat adrenocortical insufficiency. This condition is when your adrenal glands are unable to produce sufficient amounts of cortisol, and other steroid hormones.
According to Adrenal Fatigue Focus, the primary active compound within licorice, glycyrrhizin, hinders the breakdown of cortisol within your liver. By stopping your liver from breaking down cortisol, the amount of cortisol in your body will rise. If you have a cortisol deficiency, this process is beneficial as it means the small amounts of cortisol produced by your body will remain for longer periods of time, thus allowing your body to buildup cortisol stores.
While these findings are promising, further research is required to determine the true value and safety of licorice root for cortisol deficiencies.
University of New Mexico: Cortisol Connection
University of Maryland Medical Center: Addison’s Disease
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Licorice
Adrenal Fatigue Focus: Using Licorice
University of Maryland Medical Center: Licorice