Is Licorice Root a Testosterone Booster?

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In Brief: Is licorice root a testosterone booster?

Preliminary studies showed that licorice root is not a testosterone booster. It may reduce testosterone levels in both males and females. However, the degree of reduction is quite variable. Therefore, further research studies are warranted.

Licorice has been used for many years to treat digestive problems, pulmonary, and skin diseases.[1]

Recent research studies have found that it alters testosterone levels by inhibiting the enzymes involved in testosterone biosynthesis. Also, it increases cortisol levels.[2]

Related: Testosterone  supplements and cancer

In a study involving seven healthy men, 7g of licorice administration decreased testosterone by 55%. However, these effects reversed after four days of stopping licorice administration.[3]

Another group tried to replicate the decrease in testosterone levels with 5.6g of licorice, but they observed a reduction in testosterone of only 9.5%.

The group mentioned that the 55% decrease in testosterone levels mentioned by the previous researchers might be because of statistical anomalies in the data.[4]

Another retrial by the initial researchers showed that seventeen healthy male students who consumed 7g of a commercial preparation of licorice had a 26% decrease in the mean testosterone values after one week of treatment.[5]

A study involving nine healthy women aged 22-26 years showed that the administration of 3.5g of commercial licorice daily had reduced total serum testosterone levels.

The study suggested that licorice could be used as an adjunct therapy for treating hirsutism and PCOD.[6]

Another study showed that glycyrrhizin, extracted from the roots of licorice, decreased testosterone levels in males with type 2 diabetes and chronic hepatitis.[7]

However, a study reported that moderate doses of licorice (150mg) did not have any significant changes in serum testosterone levels after four weeks of consumption.[8]

A small intake of licorice does not affect testosterone levels. Also, these supplements should not be confused with steroids.

Thus, preliminary studies showed that licorice might not be a testosterone booster but a testosterone level reducer.

However, there is no robust information available about the magnitude of the reduction. It depends on the dosage of licorice and sample sizes.

Future studies will determine the dosage and extent to which the consumption of licorice affect the testosterone levels.