Licorice Root and Stress: What’s the Connection?


By Molly Knudsen, MS, RDN

Licorice is among the most basic confections. Whether or not you’re keen on or despise the flavoring, it’s a staple in sweet aisles throughout the globe.

However licorice is nice for greater than only a flavoring agent. Licorice, particularly licorice root, has additionally been a outstanding ingredient in natural and conventional medication for 1000’s of years.1,2 And it’s nonetheless being really useful by healthcare practitioners in the present day for its function in supporting the stress response.

A short historical past of licorice root

Licorice, scientifically referred to as Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a flowering legume plant.1 And licorice root is the basis of that plant. Licorice root is among the oldest documented natural treatments, with its use relationship again to 4,000 BCE.1 Historic Chinese language, Roman, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, and Assyrian folks utilized the herb for every little thing from gastrointestinal points to lung, coronary heart, and liver well being.1,2 Licorice root has a naturally candy taste because of a compound known as glycyrrhizin.1 Glycyrrhizin is estimated to be 50 instances sweeter than desk sugar, which make it an ideal ingredient for candies.1

Licorice root can be an ideal supply of helpful plant compounds like phenolic acids, flavonoids, flavans, and isoflavins.1 When licorice root is consumed, these compounds might assist the cortisol-regulated stress response.1

Cortisol and stress

Cortisol is a hormone launched by the adrenal glands. It performs a task in regulating metabolism, the immune response, blood stress, blood sugar, and the sleep-wake cycle, nevertheless it’s most identified for mediating the stress response.3,4 Cortisol controls what’s generally referred to as the “fight-or-flight” response. Throughout a time of bodily or psychological stress (working right into a bear within the woods or worrying a few private relationship), cortisol ranges improve to give you a surge of vitality and application to beat that speedy stress.3

Licorice and the stress response

Licorice root incorporates compounds designed to help wholesome cortisol metabolism to assist the physique handle stress extra successfully.5 Melissa Blake, ND, who has over 10 years of medical expertise, specializing within the integrative and purposeful administration of continual well being points, recommends licorice root for 2 sorts of sufferers: those that expertise an insufficient stress response and people experiencing hormonal stress.

Insufficient stress response: Based on Dr. Blake, “That is the one who is working on empty, in all probability chronically confused and is verging on burnout. They will’t get out of their very own method and are tremendous drained mentally and bodily.” Dr. Blake says that these sufferers additionally usually expertise lightheadedness or dizziness. In one of these state of affairs, Dr. Blake says that including licorice root helps “fill their cup again up by balancing the cortisol stress response.”

Hormonal stress: That is referring to an individual who has each poor stress tolerance and warmth signs like flushing or evening sweats and even basic irritability and gastrointestinal points. Dr. Blake additionally has discovered success utilizing licorice root for her sufferers experiencing one of these stress.

What’s the underside line?

Licorice root is an historic natural treatment that’s nonetheless related in well being in the present day as a consequence of its impact on the stress response. Cortisol is the first stress hormone and controls the physique’s physiologic response to emphasize.4

And generally your physique may have slightly additional help managing that inner stress. Discuss to your healthcare practitioner in the present day to see if you may gain advantage from licorice root or different pure treatments that assist tackle stress.

For extra data on stress administration and different basic wellness subjects, please go to the Metagenics weblog.


  1. Deutch MR et al. Meals. 2019;8(10):495.
  2. Licorice root. being/licorice-root. Up to date August 2020. Accessed February 22, 2021.
  3. Hannibal KE et al. Phys Ther. 2014;94(12):1816-1825.
  4. Stress administration. Printed March 19, 2020. Accessed February 22, 2021.
  5. Head KA et al. Altern Med Rev. 2009;14(2):114-140.
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