Washington: Scientists have revealed that liquorice, known “Mulethi” in Northern India, could help older women take some of the misery out of menopause.
They found that a pill containing the sweet root cuts the number of hot flushes women experience by up to 80 percent, as well as helping to keep bones strong without any side effects.
Hot flushes and night sweats affect most women in the years leading up to and after their last period.
Most women are bothered by them for four years, but they can disturb sleep, zap energy, cause embarrassment and reduce quality of life for up to 20 years.
The pill produced ‘remarkable’ results when taken daily by women who were close to or going through ‘the change’, the scientists claimed.
This is thought to be because plant chemicals in liquorice have a similar effect to the female sex hormone oestrogen, levels of which plummet around the menopause.
A US fertility conference heard that in future, liquorice-based supplements could provide women who cannot or will not take traditional, oestrogen-based hormone replacement therapy with an effective alternative.
The researchers, from the University of Southern California, gave supplies of liquorice extract called licogen or a placebo pill to 51 women who were going through or who were close to the menopause.
Within a year, most of those taking the liquorice found that the number of hot flushes and night sweats they had each day fell by 80 per cent – or from an average of ten to just two.
And instead of waking an average of four times, their sleep was disturbed just once or twice.
The findings were presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference.