Liquorice and hypertension

The Netherlands Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.97). 05/2005; 63(4):119-20.
Source: PubMed


Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active constituent of liquorice, inhibits renal IIbeta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. This allows cortisol to stimulate mineralocorticoid receptors, which can result in hypertension and hypokalaemia. Treatment options are based on pathophysiological understanding.

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    • "However, some studies found that licorice interfered with steroid metabolism and caused edema and hypertension. [7,8,9] Glycyrrhizin, a major component of licorice, inhibits the metabolism of cortisol (reviewed in [10]) and can lead to acute and chronic cases of hypertension and hypokalemia. [11] In traditional oriental medicine roasted licorice has been used rather than raw licorice. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE Licorice has been shown to possess cancer chemopreventive effects. However, glycyrrhizin, a major component in licorice, was found to interfere with steroid metabolism and cause edema and hypertension. The roasting process of licorice modifies the chemical composition and converts glycyrrhizin to glycyrrhetinic acid. The purpose of this study was to examine the anti-carcinogenic effects of the ethanol extract of roasted licorice (EERL) and to identify the active compound in EERL. MATERIALS/METHODS Ethanol and aqueous extracts of roasted and un-roasted licorice were prepared. The active fraction was separated from the methylene chloride (MC)-soluble fraction of EERL and the structure of the purified compound was determined by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The anti-carcinogenic effects of licorice extracts and licochalcone A was evaluated using a MTT assay, Western blot, flow cytometry, and two-stage skin carcinogenesis model. RESULTS EERL was determined to be more potent and efficacious than the ethanol extract of un-roasted licorice in inhibiting the growth of DU145 and MLL prostate cancer cells, as well as HT-29 colon cancer cells. The aqueous extracts of un-roasted and roasted licorice showed minimal effects on cell growth. EERL potently inhibited growth of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast, B16-F10 melanoma, and A375 and A2058 skin cancer cells, whereas EERL slightly stimulated the growth of normal IEC-6 intestinal epithelial cells and CCD118SK fibroblasts. The MC-soluble fraction was more efficacious than EERL in inhibiting DU145 cell growth. Licochalcone A was isolated from the MC fraction and identified as the active compound of EERL. Both EERL and licochalcone A induced apoptosis of DU145 cells. EERL potently inhibited chemically-induced skin papilloma formation in mice. CONCLUSIONS Non-polar compounds in EERL exert potent anti-carcinogenic effects, and that roasted rather than un-roasted licorice should be favored as a cancer preventive agent, whether being used as an additive to food or medicine preparations.
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    ABSTRACT: Taiwan has the greatest incidence rate of end-stage renal disease in the world. Several cases of Chinese herb nephropathy were reported in Taiwan. Therefore, we studied the association between herbal therapy and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Taiwan. Cross-sectional survey. 1,740 adults in the Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (1993 to 1996). Herbal and analgesic therapy. CKD after adjustment for potential confounding variables. Among medication users, prevalences of herbal therapy and analgesic use were 21.6% and 13.2%, respectively. The prevalence of CKD was 9.9%. Participants with CKD were older and had more analgesic use, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Analgesic use was associated independently and positively with CKD (odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.5; P = 0.003) and CKD stage (odds ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.6; P = 0.003). Conversely, herbal therapy was associated independently and positively with CKD (odds ratio, 1.39; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 1.7; P = 0.002) and CKD stage (odds ratio, 1.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 1.7; P = 0.004) only in participants who did not use analgesics. Because this was a cross-sectional study, cause and effect could not be ascertained. Herbal therapy was associated with CKD in adults in Taiwan who did not use analgesics.
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    ABSTRACT: The measurement of the urinary free cortisol-cortisone ratio has been reported to be a sensitive indicator of renal 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11 beta-HSD 2) activity. This converts biologically active cortisol to inactive cortisone. A decrease in its activity (e.g. through disease or inhibition caused by a therapeutic agent or a foodstuff) may increase cortisol levels and susceptibility towards hypertension. The method presented here uses a simple isocratic tandem column HPLC system. The method has been validated and found to be robust and reproducible. The lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) was found to be 10 ng/mL for both cortisol and cortisone. Samples of urine (n = 99) from patients, most of whom were on complex combinations of drugs, were analyzed and 92% of samples were found to give successful results with this method (cortisol and cortisone above LLOQ). The ratio ranged from 0.07 to 5.61. No interferences were noted from the drugs that the patients were taking. It was also found that a morning spot urine sample gave comparable results to 24 h collection samples, thus making sample collection much easier.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2007 · Biomedical Chromatography
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