Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2002; 110(6): 257-261
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-34587

© Johann Ambrosius Barth

History of The Endocrine Effects of Licorice

D. Armanini, C. Fiore, M. J. Mattarello, J. Bielenberg, M. Palermo
  • Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences -Endocrinology University of Padua
  • *Endocrinology University of Sassari Italy
Further Information

Publication History

received 8 January 2002 first decision 11 February 2002

accepted 12 March 2002

Publication Date:
09 October 2002 (online)


The history of licorice as an officinal plant dates back thousands of years, and licorice is still appreciated as a medicinal root. Many of its endocrine properties can be derived from observations of Authors of the ancient world, when hormones were not known. Inappropriate use of licorice can produce pseudoaldosteronism, by inactivating 11β-hydroxysteroiod-dehydrogenase and by binding to mineralocorticoid receptors. Licorice possesses many other therapeutic properties as to potentiate the action of cortisol, to reduce testosterone synthesis, especially in women, to exert an estrogen-like activity and to reduce body fat mass. The chronological development of research on these effects is described.


Prof. Decio Armanini

Dept. of Medical and Surgical Science - Endocrinology

Via Ospedale 105

35100 Padua