> that's funny cause I just read in yesterday's LA Times that licorice is a
stimulant for females' sex drive. this seems like a ripe area of interesting receptor/signal transduction research.
It's estrogenic, as are ginseng and soy. Soy is the most estrogenic of the three, licorice the next most. (Seen in Medline.) I can't take ginseng or licorice because they set off my endometriosis, presumably by changing my hormone levels.
But I'm not sure if increasing estrogen would up the sex drive in women.
I have seen several cautions to be careful with licorice as it can increase blood pressure. (Mostly heard from fellow patients who seemed fairly knowledgeable.) It also is supposed to increase cortisol levels in people with low cortisol. If it also increases cortisol in people with normal levels, that would be bad.
Despite the fact that licorice is used in food, it's actually quite powerful, and I would do some research before taking it and measure my blood pressure regularly while taking it. Blood pressure meters are $40. If you run high at all, they are a good investment.
That said, cortisol levels and estrogen levels tend to decline with age, so boosting them with licorice might be a good thing.
I would suggest finding a good nutritional doctor to consult while taking herbs. The Life Extension Foundation (lef.org) has a directory of innovative doctors. While it seems likely that they vary in quality, my doctor is listed in their directory, and he's really wonderful. It might be a good place to start looking.