The purpose of this site is to collect lab research by medical doctors about herbs that are proven to treat illnesses and counter the false attacks on herbs by the medical industry and false claims by alternative medicine. I let the science tell the facts.
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Herba Leonurl Date Written 2007
Author Joe Holmes Date Revised  

Liquorice root is reported in article 1 to be toxic over an adult daily dosage of 10 mg. Article 2 in the form of natural leaf not root has important aspects for immune system repair, even stating it should be the first choice for immune repair. Article 2 claims that in the leaf form it is not toxic.

1. "Literature on case reports, clinical studies and biochemical mechanisms of the sweet-tasting compound glycyrrhizic acid in liquorice was critically reviewed to provide a safety assessment of its presence in liquorice sweets. A high intake of liquorice can cause hypermineralocorticoidism with sodium retention and potassium loss, oedema, increased blood pressure and depression of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. As a consequence, a number of other clinical symptoms have also been observed. Glycyrrhizic acid is hydrolysed in the intestine to the pharmacologically active compound glycyrrhetic acid, which inhibits the enzyme 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (in the direction of cortisol to cortisone) as well as some other enzymes involved in the metabolism of corticosteroids. Inhibition of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase leads to increased cortisol levels in the kidneys and in other mineralocorticoid-selective tissues. Since cortisol, which occurs in much larger amounts than aldosterone, binds with the same affinity as aldosterone to the mineralocorticoid receptor, the result is a hypermineralocorticoid effect of cortisol. The inhibitory effect on 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase is reversible; however, the compensatory physiological mechanisms following hypermineralocorticoidism (e.g. depression of the renin-angiotensin system) may last several months. It is not possible, on the basis of existing data, to determine precisely the minimum level of glycyrrhizic acid required to produce the described symptoms. There is apparently a great individual variation in the susceptibility to glycyrrhizic acid. In the most sensitive individuals a regular daily intake of no more than about 100 mg glycyrrhizic acid, which corresponds to 50 g liquorice sweets (assuming a content of 0.2% glycyrrhizic acid), seems to be enough to produce adverse effects. Most individuals who consume 400 mg glycyrrhizic acid daily experience adverse effects. Considering that a regular intake of 100 mg glycyrrhizic acid/day is the lowest-observed-adverse-effect level and using a safety factor of 10, a daily intake of 10 mg glycyrrhizic acid would represent a safe dose for most healthy adults. A daily intake of 1-10 mg glycyrrhizic acid/person has been estimated for several countries. However, an uneven consumption pattern suggests that a considerable number of individuals who consume large amounts of liquorice sweets are exposed to the risk of developing adverse effects." (1)

2. "Liquorice is an important herb for auto-immune conditions; contains plant sterols including sitosterol and stigmasterol. More than thirty flavonoids and isoflavonoids have been identified, including liquiritin and its derivatives. We know that plant sterols improve the majority of patients with auto-immune disorders, however, experience leads us to believe that Liquorice may be superior in this aspect. Naturleaf produces general health benefits but Liquorice may have a more obvious effect, for overactive immune system and auto-immune disorders/diseases then Liquorice is the first remedy of choice, as part of the treatment protocol. There may need to be some experimentation and comparisons with Liquorice and Naturleaf, Liquorice is more effective in the majority of cases, in improving auto-immune disorders, but it does have some safety issues, (please see the article), whereas naturaleaf does not, Naturleaf as a single remedy is more energising and will tend to strengthen the immune system (e.g essential for Aids cases) and also has proven cholesterol regulating effects, but if suffering from an auto-immune condition and selecting a few remedies from the protocol, then Liquorice should be the first choice." (2)

(1) PMID: 8386690


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