Estrogen receptor superinductors were not invented by Dr. Spock
In a pretty meticulous analysis, Rudy Simons et al. found that several fractions of an ethyl acetate extract from licorice root displayed estrogenic activities at either the estrogen-alpha or estrogen-beta receptor that were more pronounced than the ones of the reference "drug", estradiol (E2).
|Figure 1: Relative estrogenic activity (in % of estradiol = E2) of 51 fractions that were isolated from an ethyl acetate extract from licorice root (data adapted from Simons. 2011).|
|Figure 2: Relative content and estrogenic activity of individual fractions F1-F5, F6-F21 and F22-F51 from the ethyl acetate extract from licorice root used in the study (calculated based on Simons. 2011).|
|Figure 3: Changes in testosterone, androstenedione and 17-hydroxy-progesterone levels (ng/dl) in 7 healthy men upon oral adminstration of 7g of a commercial licorice preparation (data based on Armanini. 1999)|
|Image 2: Licorice could help with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, but it has potential corticosteroid-like side effects you should keep an eye on.|
Moreover, licorice appears to act as an SSRI (selective serotonine reuptake inhibitor) and may thus also help with moodswings and neurotransmitter-imbalances (Ofir. 2003), which can also cause sugar cravings and thusly induce weight gain. If you add to that the growth-inhibitory action the glabridins in licorice exhibit on breast-cancer cells (Tamir. 2000), it may be well worth to try to alleviate menopause symptoms with licorice. In that, it is yet important to know that the glycyrrhetinic acid in licorice has mineralocorticoid-like side effect (i.e. it works like cortisol), which can become problematic especially if licorice is taken as part of one of the typical pharmacological protocols conventional doctors tend to prescribe to their patients (e.g. Inada. 2007). My advice would thus be to carefully monitor your reaction, Ladies ;-)