Loading

ARTICLES

Valuable information about Adrenal Fatigue

Using Licorice Root

Licorice root stands out as one of the most useful herbs for adrenal fatigue. Although it is not necessary in many cases, it's reliable effects on boosting cortisol levels make it a vital part of any practitioner's line-up, although some confusion exists as to how best harness this effect.

In healthy individuals, cortisol levels rise in the morning and fall progressively during the day. A lot of practitioners fall into the trap of assuming that the use of licorice use must follow this pattern. This is not necessarily the case. Licorice root increases the circulating levels of cortisol in circulation by reducing it's breakdown, not by creating extra cortisol. If cortisol levels are inappropriately low, then boosting them back into a more beneficial range is likely to alleviate symptoms, be that hypoglycaemia or poor sleep. Licorice root can be used to boost cortisol levels around the clock.

Licorice has been used for many centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and still features in a number of therapeutic interventions. Modern science shows us that the root of the plant contains a compound called glycerrhizinic acid, which inhibits the breakdown of circulating cortisol at the liver. As such, it can reliably enhances the potency of any cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This makes it very useful in cases of adrenal fatigue.

Licorice is often used in the morning but can be equally useful in the evenings. For example, Tired Timmy feels totally washed out at 8pm each day, and this feeling does not dissipate for the rest of the evening. The adrenal stress index shows a very low reading for cortisol at 8pm. This low output of cortisol leaves his body over-compensating for the imbalance and, when he tries to settle down to sleep at 10pm, he finds himself wide awake and staring at the ceiling. He doesn't want to do anything to boost his cortisol levels as he has been told that this will disturb sleep – after all, he has enough sleep problems as it is. However, if Tired Timmy used licorice root in the evening to boost his flagging cortisol levels, he could have avoided the over-compensation and maybe got a good night's sleep.

Practitioners have tended to shy away from anything that boosts cortisol levels in the evenings. On one hand, this is understandable; high cortisol disturbs sleep and circadian rhythms. However, boosting cortisol from a problematic range into a desirable zone represents something different altogether. As discussed in articles on adrenal fatigue and sleep, low cortisol can damage sleep as much as high cortisol. In essence, the right intervention will vary from person to person; establishing exactly what this entails should be determined only by their requirements, not be predetermined ideas about what times licorice root should or should not be used.

In my clinic, I use the results of the Adrenal Stress Index, together with feedback from the individual concerned, to establish the most appropriate use of licorice root (if any). Typically, I may start off by introducing supplements earlier in the day and gauging response; however, if test results and our discussion both come to the conclusion that use in the evening is indicated, then this is what I suggest.

While many individuals will find their sleeping patterns settle back into a healthy pattern by supporting their adrenals with their own ideal blend of vitamin C and pantothenic acid, there are also many that will need more help. If your symptoms and test results suggest that such support involves licorice root in the evening, then the time of day should be no reason to avoid this.Licorice root stands out as one of the most useful herbs for adrenal fatigue. Although it is not necessary in many cases, it's reliable effects on boosting cortisol levels make it a vital part of any practitioner's line-up, although some confusion exists as to how best harness this effect.

In healthy individuals, cortisol levels rise in the morning and fall progressively during the day. A lot of practitioners fall into the trap of assuming that the use of licorice use must follow this pattern. This is not necessarily the case. Licorice root increases the circulating levels of cortisol in circulation by reducing it's breakdown, not by creating extra cortisol. If cortisol levels are inappropriately low, then boosting them back into a more beneficial range is likely to alleviate symptoms, be that hypoglycaemia or poor sleep. Licorice root can be used to boost cortisol levels around the clock.

Licorice has been used for many centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and still features in a number of therapeutic interventions. Modern science shows us that the root of the plant contains a compound called glycerrhizinic acid, which inhibits the breakdown of circulating cortisol at the liver. As such, it can reliably enhances the potency of any cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This makes it very useful in cases of adrenal fatigue.

Licorice is often used in the morning but can be equally useful in the evenings. For example, Tired Timmy feels totally washed out at 8pm each day, and this feeling does not dissipate for the rest of the evening. The adrenal stress index shows a very low reading for cortisol at 8pm. This low output of cortisol leaves his body over-compensating for the imbalance and, when he tries to settle down to sleep at 10pm, he finds himself wide awake and staring at the ceiling. He doesn't want to do anything to boost his cortisol levels as he has been told that this will disturb sleep – after all, he has enough sleep problems as it is. However, if Tired Timmy used licorice root in the evening to boost his flagging cortisol levels, he could have avoided the over-compensation and maybe got a good night's sleep.

Practitioners have tended to shy away from anything that boosts cortisol levels in the evenings. On one hand, this is understandable; high cortisol disturbs sleep and circadian rhythms. However, boosting cortisol from a problematic range into a desirable zone represents something different altogether. As discussed in articles on adrenal fatigue and sleep, low cortisol can damage sleep as much as high cortisol. In essence, the right intervention will vary from person to person; establishing exactly what this entails should be determined only by their requirements, not be predetermined ideas about what times licorice root should or should not be used.

In the clinic environment, the results of the Adrenal Stress Index, together with feedback from the individual concerned, are used to establish the most appropriate use of licorice root (if any). Supplements can be started by introducing them earlier in the day and gauging response; if test results and discussions with the individual suggest that evening use of licorice is indicated, then licorice should be used in the evening.

While many individuals will find their sleeping patterns settle back into a healthy pattern by supporting their adrenals with their own ideal blend of vitamin C and pantothenic acid, there are also many that will need more help. If your symptoms and test results suggest that such support involves licorice root in the evening, then the time of day should be no reason to avoid this.



Marek Doyle DipAET is a nutritional therapist and allergist with locations in Kensington, Chelsea and Basingstoke. He has been recognised as one of the top practitioners in the country, counts world champion athletes and TV celebs amongst his clientele, and specialises in the treatment of fungal issues and adrenal fatigue. His website is www.blueprintfitness.co.uk and can be found @marekdoyle and on Google+