licorice improves symptoms of Parkinson's disease

Before licorice was a candy, it was a herb: a herb with powerful healing properties. But no one thought it could help people with Parkinson’s. Could it?

To put it to the test, researchers conducted a very small double-blind study. The people in the study stayed on their Parkinson’s medications and added either a placebo or licorice. The licorice was an extract that was made into a syrup. The dose was 5cc of syrup, which contained 136mg of licorice extract, twice a day. The study lasted for 6 months.

The people in the licorice group had significant improvement in scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). Scores continued to worsen in the placebo group. Motor scores, rigidity scores and scores of daily activity were all significantly better in the licorice. After 6 weeks on licorice, tremor symptoms improved; after 4 months, motor and rigidity scores improved.

The licorice extract was safe, causing no abnormalities in electrolytes, no significant changes in blood pressure or blood sugar and no adverse effects.

Though the study was small—there were only 30 people—the authors conclude that licorice safely improved the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.


J Ethnopharmacol 2020 Jan 30;247:112226


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