Licorice May Relieve Hot Flashes, But It Can Also Interact with Your Meds
Licorice root has been used in many ways for centuries, in traditional Chinese medicine, in tea, and as a flavoring, for example. Today, licorice extract is a popular supplement to treat symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, because many women fear stroke and breast cancer risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. But scientists at the American Chemical Society caution that licorice may pose a health risk by interacting with certain medicines, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that excessive amounts can cause irregular heart rhythms and muscle fatigue.
In a recent study, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago examined how three types of licorice affect liver enzymes involved in drug metabolism. They discovered that all three types – two North American species and one European species – inhibit several enzymes, and two types (Glycyrrhiza uralensis and Glycyrrhiza inflate) induce liver enzymes. Researchers hope to use this information to develop licorice therapy that is safe and effective for menopause symptoms.