Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds and is an excellent alternative to St. John's Wort. As a herbal medicine it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders. Hundreds of potentially beneficial substances have been identified in licorice as well, including compounds called flavonoids and various plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). The herb's key therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin (which is 50 times sweeter than sugar) exerts numerous beneficial effects on the body. Licorice root seems to assist the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol (the body's primary stress-fighting adrenal hormone), making these hormones more available to the body. Licorice also appears to assist with immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a key immune system chemical.
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