Licorice has proven in numerous studies to stop cancer in its tracks, especially when it comes to breast cancer tumors. But this humble yet powerful shrub has also gotten a bad rap for its association with heart arrhythmias, drops in potassium levels and even heart attack in some individuals.
What is the real deal about licorice? Is it a healer or a health threat? Keep reading for the true facts that every cancer patient needs to know.
Licorice: Don’t overdo it and stay away from the candy version!
Let’s cut right to the chase and first talk about what all the fuss is about. The FDA and others warn that you can overdose on too much licorice – and for some individuals, this is absolutely true. According to the FDA:
“…black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.”
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts add that too much licorice may have an effect on adrenal hormones and can lead to a condition called pseudoaldosteronism.
For these reasons, most experts recommend that healthy individuals interested in using the vast healing power of licorice utilize deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, where the glycyrrhizin has been taken out (although glycyrrhizin itself is considered to be one of the healing subtances in the root). Many also recommend not to use any licorice product or supplement for more than four weeks at a time. Of course, if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, stop using it right away.
I would add that if you are on a Healthy Breast Protocol or any kind of cancer-healing protocol, stay away from the candy version. This is not a healthy way to utilize the healing effects of this powerful herb. The confectionary often contains more sugar than actual herbal extract and science has confirmed that cancer feeds on sugar. In addition, many commercially-processes licorice candies are created using ammonium chloride.
Although no tests have been done as yet to determine this chemical’s carcinogenic effects, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have found that chronic exposure to ammonium chloride can lead to acute respiratory problems.
Licorice contains powerful cancer-killing properties
Interestingly, the University of Massachusetts researchers and others in mainstream medicine recommend that individuals with hormone-sensitive cancers (such as breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancer) avoid using licorice altogether.
However, this advice is in direct contrast to recent studies which have found specific tumor-reducing, immune-boosting and hormone-regulating factors within the root. The most recent (and most exciting) study was a 2016 comprehensive review of several phytonutrient and adaptagenic herbs, including licorice, known to have an effect on breast cancer.
Researchers at the University Sains School of Medical Sciences in Kelantan, Malaysia discovered eight different bioactive immunomodulators within herbs such as licorice, curcumin, apricot, ginseng and a host of others. Of these eight, four of them can be found in licorice, including:
Ajoene, an anti-fungal
Arctigenin, a lignan with anti-cancer effects
β-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant; and
Glabridin acid, which can also prevent DNA damage caused by oxidation.
Other studies have found similar connections between the properties in licorice and breast cancer healing and prevention:
Researchers at Rutgers University were able to isolate a particular polyphenol molecule, ß-hydroxy-DHP (BHP), extracted from licorice root, which has the ability to stop breast as well as prostate cancer tumor cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.
The Chinese have long used licorice root as a hormone balancer and for complications associated with menopause. A 2009 study conducted by Nanjing Medical University in Nanjing, China looked specifically at the Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) content found in licorice root and its effect on estrogen-positive breast cancer. The researchers found that licorice extract had an effect on estrogen levels that was breast cancer-preventative in a dose-dependent manner: the DMSO stunted cancer cell proliferation in high doses yet had the opposite effect at low doses.
Other studies have found that licorice root helps to positively balance testosterone metabolism, decrease serotonin re-uptake and reduce cortisol levels, all three of which are important to breast cancer prevention and healing.
Finally, licorice has proven to be a powerful immune system regulator. Isoliquiritigenin and Naringenin found in the root can promote T cell growth. Glycyrrhisin and other flavonoids found in licorice can help reduce inflammation in the body overall.
Consider licorice as part of your breast cancer healing toolbox
There are so many powerful herbs found in nature that contain powerful cancer-healing properties. With over 400 compounds in one small root, licorice can definitely be considered amongst them. Ancient cultures from India to Greece knew this; licorice has been used all over the world as a hormone-balancer, immune system booster, aid for oral health, digestive aid and more for thousands of years. Now modern science is discovering the exact mechanisms that make it a true healer.
If you are considering using licorice as part of your breast cancer healing protocol, be sure to do so with the help of a qualified healing professional. In addition, certain tests, such as the R.G.C.C. Greece Test, may be able to pinpoint if licorice supplementation is right for your breast cancer journey.
About the author: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and specialist in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. visit: BreastCancerConqueror.com