Hormonal issues can make your life miserable. And PCOS, in particular, is not easy to live with. The standard treatment for PCOS relies on prescribing birth control pills and/or Metformin. Neither of these are free from unwarranted side effects. Moreover, these drugs are nothing more than a Band-Aid.
Allopathic drugs don’t treat the root-cause behind PCOS; they simply attempt to mask the symptoms. This is why we highly recommend lifestyle and diet changes and all natural remedies for PCOS. These changes eliminate the root cause behind the hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance causing PCOS.
One such herbal remedy is Licorice. This herb has been touted for its anti-androgen properties. It is also known to balance blood sugar levels as well as improving insulin sensitivity.
Does Research Support The Use Of Licorice for PCOS Treatment?
Yup, licorice is one of those herbal, all-natural PCOS treatments that comes with scientific backings.
Licorice root (scientific name: Glycyrrhiza glabra) has been used in traditional folk medicine for ages. It is considered to be a particularly potent natural anti-androgen. An Iranian study published in the International Journal of Andrology noted the anti-androgenic activities of licorice extract in male rats. They reported significantly reduced free and total testosterone levels.
Another study found licorice extract to be a potent herbal medicine for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This study was published in the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. Scientists took into consideration two Italian clinical trials. These trials reveal the effects of licorice on the hormonal health of women. One of these clinical trials studied the effect of licorice on androgen growth in nine healthy women. They found that it can reduce serum testosterone levels. They also found that licorice should be considered an additional therapy for excess hair growth and polycystic ovary syndrome. The other study found that PCOS patients on spironolactone fare better when an additional dose of 3.5 g of licorice a day is given. Spironolactone is an anti-androgen pharmaceutical therapy
8 Reasons Why Licorice Works For PCOS
Licorice is a fantastic remedy for hormonal imbalances causing in PCOS, and so easy to use too. Here’s a look at 8 reasons why we think it’s one of the best all-natural PCOS treatments.
It has natural anti-androgen properties. And it also offers hormone balancing benefits. As a natural plant-based estrogen that emulates estrogen, it binds to estrogen receptor sites. And it actively fights the ill-effects of ‘Xenhormones’. These disrupt the endocrine system to cause hormonal imbalances, maybe even infertility. By maintaining estrogen balance in the body, Licorice helps promote regulated ovulation and improved fertility.
It has anti-inflammatory properties. As we know, low-grade systemic inflammation lies at the heart of PCOS. The glycyrrhizic acid found in licorice is metabolized into cortisol. which actively fights inflammation at all levels. The result – less painful period, improvement in both ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. It also results in improved hormonal balance.
It keeps adrenal fatigue at bay. It stimulates the adrenal gland to promote healthy levels of cortisol in the body. This makes licorice particularly good for those who deal with stress-related HPA axis dysfunction that causes hormonal imbalances or Adrenal Androgen excess.
It boosts immune and endocrine system function. By stimulating the immune system, it prevents hyperactive immune responses. This in turn protects reproductive health and helps maintain hormonal balance.
It boosts liver health. Rich in glycyrrhizic acid, the licorice root protects the liver from environmental toxins. It also protects the liver from toxins that may enter our bodies through food, medication and alcohol. Good liver health is important for hormonal balance. Because excess hormones or toxins floating around the body can put unnecessary stress on the liver. Remember, detoxification is the primary job of the liver.
It can stabilize blood sugar levels. Animal studies have revealed the possible application of licorice to an improvement in type-2 diabetes. Researchers now believe that licorice may help in reducing blood sugar. As a result, it can be an all-natural treatment for insulin resistance and elevated blood-sugar levels.
It can improve gut health. Licorice can boost digestive health and treat Leaky Gut, which is not uncommon in PCOS patients. It’s also possible that licorice limits the growth of harmful H. pylori bacteria in the gut. This further improves the gut microbiome.
It can treat acne. Powdered licorice makes a great topical treatment for acne. It can help clear up skin by treating cystic acne.
How To Use Licorice For PCOS?
The easiest way to use licorice root is to brew a home-made tea with dried roots. I like licorice tea both as a warm, soothing brew or a cold beverage on hot summer days. In fact, you can easily find licorice teas in most health food stores these days. A lot of people find that a tea brewed from a combination of Licorice and White Peony Root is particularly helpful in balancing out hormones.
You can also get licorice in powder, liquid extract or capsule form.
However, it’s important to not overdo licorice root. Because it can cause high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and swelling.
Ideally, consult a licensed naturopathic physician to know how much licorice to use for your particular symptoms. Dosage will also vary based on the form of licorice you’re choosing. The specific safe dosage varies for licorice in tea, powder, capsule and liquid form.
Also, licorice supplementation can lead to depleted potassium levels in your body. So make sure you are eating plenty of potassium-rich foods like apricots, bananas and avocados. Ideally, it is best to not continue licorice supplementation for long periods of time. Give your body a week of well-deserved break after every 3 months, though your naturopath will be able to give you more specific advice.