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Re: Licorice tea? No, seriously ... jazzdog

Posted by JohnX2 on March 28, 2002, at 14:51:10

In reply to Licorice tea? No, seriously ..., posted by jazzdog on March 28, 2002, at 14:31:17

Usually when people are depressed the body has a hyperactive adrenal gland and is producing too much cortisol. Licorice helps to prevent the breakdown of cortisol. There are feedback receptors in the brain called glucocorticoid receptors that are supposed to reduce cortisol production when it is stimulated by excessive glucocorticoids (cortisols, etc).

In depressed people, these glucocorticoid receptors are overly downregulated and may not properly feed back and stop the release of cortisol production. Chronic administration of antidepressants often reverses this problem in the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland). This phenomina may be thought as glucocoritcoid non-suppression. There is a test for this called a dexamethasone (a synthetic steroid) that can be administered to see how your circulating cortisol levels react (maybe your cortisol is too high, and the dexamethasone does not cause a feed back to suppress it).

Now there can be another type of depression that is very backwards that is often associated with PTSD or with Adrenal exhaustion and it has as a trademark of *extremely* low levels of cortisol. This type of depression can be very difficult to treat and give irratic antidepressant responses. In this case there is a hyper-feedback of cortisol administration. The glucorticoid (cortisol detecting) receptors in the brain are overly sensitive (up regulated) and when more glucocorticoid is injected synthetically (say with dexamethasone) then the body will actually do a hyperfeedback and supersupress the cortisol secretion.

I've read that some people believe licorice may be helpful for adrenal exhaustion or ptsd. but it may not be a good idea for vanilla depression (IMO).

You may see an endocrinologist and get your corisol levels checked out 1st.


> I've been trying to figure out this ssri dopamine depletion thing. I read that ssri's exhaust the adrenal glands, which may be the underlying cause. And it turns out that one of the most potent adrenal boosters is glycerhizin, the active ingredient in licorice. Of course, the licorice you buy at the store contains virtually no real licorice - aniseed is substituted. But licorice tea - available at the healthfood store - has met with success in treating chronic fatigue syndrome and is considered one of the most potent drugs in Chinese medicine. I'm going to check it out, and I'll let you know.
> - Jane




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