It’s the black, sticky sweet treat many of us ate during our childhood, but if the latest research is anything to go by, liquorice could also be the latest remedy for soothing menopause symptoms.
Researchers from the University of California have found that a pill, which contains extracts from the plant root, helps reduce menopausal ‘hot flushes’ by up to 80%.
The research involved 51 menopausal women who were 50 years old and experiencing up to 10 hot flushes a day. They were given 50mg to 100mg of liquorice extract in a daily pill form called licogen and were followed for a year.
After eight months, researchers found that hot flushes had dropped from four hot sweats a night, to just one.
The experts believe that the chemicals in liquorice mimic the effect of the female hormone oestrogen, which usually dip during menopause causing hot flushes and various other symptoms such as vaginal dryness and mood swings.
Scientists are also hoping that these findings could pave the way for cheaper, natural and safer treatments for menopausal symptoms in the future, especially for those who aren’t on, or don’t want to take, Hormone Replacement Therapy.
“There was a pretty significant reduction in hot flushes on the study,” says Dr Marsha Baker, who led the study.
Other benefits discovered was the liquorice pill could also reduce the number of osteoporosis sufferers, which can be caused by the menopause.
However, although the findings are a step closer to finding natural alternatives to HRT, scientists warn that further investigation needs to be done, as it was only a small study.
If you're experiencing hot flushes, check out these tips on how to deal with them.
Menopausal hot flushes can deplete the body of calcium and vitamins B and C, so ensure you pop these vitamins to maintain your general health. Black cohosh, a herb used by the Native North Americans, is effective in restoring female hormonal balance and helps to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes.
Ditch the heavy duvets, blankets and pillows and keep it simple at night - because that's when the hot flushes attack! Replace your big duvet with light cotton sheets or throw and remove all pillows from the bed - these will keep in the heat.
The dreaded night sweats will strip you of your fluids, so ensure you top up your water levels with plenty of liquids. Drinking cool drinks will also help keep your temperature down and avoid other dehydration side effects like headaches and feeling faint.
Try wearing fewer layers and opting for lighter, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen, which will keep the air circulation going. Or wear lighter layers, which are easier to take off, instead of heavy, chunky clothes.
Although you're free to enjoy all types of food when going through the menopause, certain food and drink trigger hot flushes more than others. Spicy food, alcohol and caffeine all cause an increase in body temperature, making you more prone to a hot flush. Experts advise to eat and drink these in moderation.