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Licorice root

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  • Licorice root

    I'm curious about this stuff. I was initially prescribed it by a naturopth for alleged adrenal issues. I turned out to not have adrenal problems at all once I switched caffeine for l-tyrosine and DLPA supplements. I ended up taking WAY too much and had massive swelling in my legs.

    So I won't take THAT much again. xD

    But I'm curious about it because it seems like a safe, 'natural' sweet plant in.. needless to say... SMALLER DOSES. It is a plant... well, sugar cane is a plant too, lol. But I mean, I wonder if it's a good compliment to a primal diet?

    I'd have to look it up, but I don't think it has any carbs.

    Anyone here drink licorice root tea or add extract to their primal desserts?

    I'm thinking that for me, given my blood sugar issues, if I'm going to use any sweetener, it's going to be stevia- or licorice.

    So I'm curious about people's experiences with it.
    Getting my Grok on in the Pacific Northwest.

    "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me."
    "Cookie is a sometimes food."
    "Sometimes cookie monster eat APPLE instead of COOKIE. Sometimes eat CARROT."
    -Cookie Monster, partially reformed sugarholic


  • #2
    I have some that I get from the local Washo Indian tribe. My friend could probably tell you more about its medicinal qualities. Definitely primal in my opinion. I don't use it very often, except to chew on from time to time. Making some tea with it sounds nice, since chewing on that bark gets kind of nasty.


    • #3
      Hi Candyland, I'm from your neck of the woods, so I'm glad I can help with something!

      I just love liquorice way too much, so it's one of the few nutritional topics I know something about. You can get the root in Chinatown for super-cheap, but it's hard to find anyone who speaks English to ask, so ask for "Gum Cao" - I actually had the guy write out the characters for me, I can post a picture if you're interested. Me & a friend used some to make homemade candy years ago, but it wasn't primal, and I don't use it in recipes much. I just boil a bunch in a saucepan at a low bubble, repeatedly reducing it and topping up with water for a few hours until it's a thickened brown extract, that goes in the fridge in a jar. Even a teaspoon of it in a glass of soda water is sweet, a bit like primal root beer (even better with grated ginger), or a bit in my tea, or I'll sometimes just dip the spoon in and lick it. mmMmm. I love liquorice!

      But as much as I love it, I don't have it all the time, and very little at any one time. It's the root of a legume, and has several medicinal properties, and can actually be dangerous at high doses, or with prolonged use: it has estrogenic effects, and can raise blood pressure and cortisol levels; it can make you retain sodium and release potassium, and retain water (hence the bloating). I have found a few reports of heavy consumption leading to hospitalization, though these problems seem to be reversible once you stop. Contraindicated if pregnant, or with high BP, or compromised liver function. There actually isn't a whole lot of real research and safety testing, and what constitutes "too much" is still debatable - I've seen it suggested that more than half a cup of liquorice tea a day is suspect, though I certainly have exceeded that without problems. I'm not a doctor though, so I'll just post a few links at the bottom and let you make up your own mind.

      Also, I've read some of your posts, and your struggles with sugar cravings: liquorice is very, very sweet, and it's possible it could trigger cravings for sugars etc even though it doesn't contain any of these itself. All that said, I still love it, so there!


      • #4
        I hates licorice! Gives me headaches even if it's only a tiny bit in some sort of spice tea.

        And I remember a friend of mine who was doing his MD residency who had one of those cases of licorice intoxication. IIRC the guy had eaten an immense amount of black licorice, like a pound or something.

        I've found that if I resolutely stay away from refined sugar, fruit, honey, etc. stuff like cabbage tastes beautifully sweet. Sweet potatoes and squash are almost too sweet. I've learned to prefer fat (oil) in my drinks rather than "sweet."


        • #5
          I have been taking licorice root due to prolonged stress and symptoms of adrenal exhaustion - poor sleep/early waking insomnia, nausea, poor appetite, very low exercise tolerance (no sprinting for me lately, just can't do it). The licorice root is powdered in capsules. I take 1 -3 caps daily. It has helped me feel a little better. Since I seem to have symptoms of very low cortisol, I don't seem to have any adverse side effects from it. Hope it helps you!