Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a herb that is widely used in many healing traditions.
Commonly used for the sweet flavour of its root in candy and foods, it also has a medicinal uses for the treatment of many health conditions.
Specifically with reference to Reproductive Medicine, it has compounds known as phytoestrogens that can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and lightly stimulate them in someone who has low levels of estrogen, and it will block the stronger estrogen from binding to the receptor in someone with very high levels of estrogen in the body. This can help balance the function of estrogen in the body.
It also serves as an anti-inflammatory agent that can be used to help relieve pain of many sorts.
Licorice also has a unique effect of lowering the circulating levels of free Testosterone in the body. It is suggested that it does this by reducing the production of the hormone. High levels of Testosterone in a female, for example a Woman with PCOS, can lead to anovulation. Testosterone is also the hormone that is converted to DHT at skin cells, and the DHT is the major hormone that stimulates hair growth in a male-pattern distribution (on the upper back, lower back, thighs, upper lip, chin, neck, abdomen, around the nipple, and the chest).
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Reproductive Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor or Primary Care Provider.