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Licorice root is a natural plant used as a nutritional supplement for its purported health effects. Licorice root may be especially useful for treating female fertility conditions because it has estrogenic effects, similar to dong quai. However, licorice may raise blood pressure and should never be used with diuretics because possible kidney damage could result. Licorice root is not proven to cure or treat any diseases, and you should always check with your doctor before using any supplements.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Promote Regular Ovulation
Licorice root may help restore regular ovulation in women who have irregular periods. Licorice root has effects similar to estrogen and progesterone, which may correct hormone imbalances to allow for conception to occur. Only use licorice root in the first half of your menstrual cycle, prior to ovulation.
Treatment of PCOS
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Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a common cause of female infertility. PCOS is associated with conception difficulties such as absent ovulation, excess production of prolactin and androgens. According to the National Institutes of Health, licorice root is sometimes used in herbal supplements to treat PCOS.
Detoxify Your Liver
Your liver regulates sexual function and hormones, including those affecting fertility. Licorice root may detoxify the liver, clearing out impurities that may be causing blocked energy and hormone imbalances. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, the practice of traditional Chinese medicine holds that stress can clog the liver, leading to infertility and other female health problems.
- Your liver regulates sexual function and hormones, including those affecting fertility.
- Licorice root may detoxify the liver, clearing out impurities that may be causing blocked energy and hormone imbalances.
Improve Cervical Mucus
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Licorice root may also improve the quality of your cervical mucus. The estrogenic effects of licorice root may increase the fluidity of cervical mucus, which may help increase the odds of conception.
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- NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Licorice root. Updated December 1, 2016.
- Raveendra KR, Jayachandra, Srinivasa V, et al. An extract of glycyrrhiza glabra (GutGard)alleviates symptoms of functional dyspepsia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;2012:1-9. doi:10.1155/2012/216970
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- Zhao H, Zhang X, Chen X, et al. Isoliquiritigenin, a flavonoid from licorice, blocks M2 macrophage polarization in colitis-associated tumorigenesis through downregulating PGE2 and IL-6. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2014;279(3):311-321. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2014.07.001
- Nahidi F, Zare E, Mojab F, Alavi-Majd H. Effects of licorice on relief and recurrence of menopausal hot flashes. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research: IJPR. 2012;11(2):541-8.
- Hajiaghamohammadi AA, Zargar A, Oveisi S, Samimi R, Reisian S. To evaluate of the effect of adding licorice to the standard treatment regimen of helicobacter pylori. The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2016;20(6):534-538. doi: 10.1016/j.bjid.2016.07.015
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- Penn State Hershey Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Licorice.
- Omar HR, Komarova I, El-Ghonemi M, et al. Licorice abuse: time to send a warning message. Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology. 2012;3(4):125-138. doi:10.1177/2042018812454322
- Räikkönen K, Martikainen S, Pesonen A, et al. Maternal licorice consumption during pregnancy and pubertal, cognitive, and psychiatric outcomes in children. Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(5):317-328. doi:10.1093/aje/kww172
- Consumer Reports. Food and drug interactions you need to know about. Updated November 4, 2018.
- Winchester Hospital. Library. Updated April 11, 2011.
- Consumer Reports. How to choose supplements wisely. Updated October 30, 2019.
- FDA. Black licorice: Trick or treat? Updated November 6, 2017.
Holly Case has written professionally since 2000. She is a former contributing editor for "ePregnancy" magazine and a current editor for a natural food magazine. She has extensive experience writing about nutrition, pregnancy, infertility, alternative medicine, children's health and women's health issues. Case holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and professional writing from Saginaw Valley State University.