Liquorice tea & hypothyroidism!

I had a migraine yesterday, the first in ages and normally I'd know what had triggered it but I have no idea this time it was quite scary as i was working when it started and i had to drive home with the usual flashing lights in my left eye, I started drinking liquorice tea last week and thought that might of caused it but apparently liquorice is supposed to help with migraines and with low cortisol and hypothyroidism!? I think I will cut down anyway, still feeling awful with a mix of hypo and hyper symptoms :-(

27 Replies

  • This is what I read

    Licorice can reduce thyroid gland activity and lower the basal metabolic rate.

  • Whilst at the same time its supposed to be great for supporting the adrenals. What a minefield it all is isn't it!

    I've got the sam eissue with loads of other thhings, do this to treat that - but oh you can't do that cause it will damage something else.

    It's a very difficult balancing act.

    For me my migraines have no basis apart from my dropping oestrogen and progesterone levels me thinks. Where so much is up in the air at present It's a job to know what is causing what, what is the result of what and what to do about any of it!

  • I found this article from the University of Maryland:

    People who regularly take large amounts of licorice -- more than 20 g/day -- may raise blood levels of the hormone aldosterone, which can cause serious side effects, including headache, high blood pressure, and heart problems. For people who already have high blood pressure or heart or kidney disease, as little as 5 g/day can cause these side effects. Further studies are needed.


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    I also read that some forms can greatly deplete blood sugar levels leading to episodes of hypoglycaemia. I don't know if migraines can be triggered by hypoglycaemia?

  • That's interesting Shaws I read at that-

    'Licorice stimulates the production of cortisol by the thyroid gland, suggesting that it could be useful in the treatment of hypothyroidism'

    Am I right thinking the production of cortisol isn't stimulated by the thyroid?

  • When you read something like that it makes you wonder where these people picked up their knowledge! Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. I looked at that article and thought WHAT!!

  • When you read rubbish like that, it's easy to have some sympathy with those docs that tell you not to research on the internet! is rarely a source of reliable info in my experience :(

  • I thought it sounded a bit funny! shall remember to avoid that website in the future :-)

  • Hi , sometimes a " migraine aura" can be triggered by a bright light situation , often with some kind of chemical /food trigger that makes you more suseptable . Often the aura will calm down and disappear over 20 /30 minute period if you can sit in a dark and calm area .

    I understand it happens because the blood vessels around the visual cortex become constricted and they need to relax and allow normal blood flow to resume . The visual cortex is at the back of the head , just above the upper neck .

    I have learned to always carry dark sunglasses wherever I go . It causes great amusement in the Opticans where I work , but sometimes it is the only way I can carry on . The boss is not amused if I ask for a lie down . Sometimes I can escape to a quiet room ,

    then it goes much quicker . I am a Dispensing Optician and so a lot of this was part of my course work .

    I hope this helps you in the future . Very scary to have to drive like that , and of course the tension of that cant have helped .

    Best of luck


  • Thanks for your comment there horrid aren't they! lucky you can lay down if one come on at work its not easy when they come on so quick, I've had migraines for years and know that black currant squash used to trigger my migraines so have always avoided anything artificially coloured red, the contraceptive pill also made them much worse so I ended up being sterilised! Also bright lights but have dry eyes & blepharitis & of course thyroid all of which cause dry eye & light sensitivity too :-( I have anti reflection lenses in my glasses which help :-)

  • I've always been told that licorice stimulates the adrenals and there for should not be used in the case of adrenal fatigue - they need resting, not stimulating - but I was contradicted by someone here the other week saying... gosh, I can't remember, but almost the complete opposite, so I don't know anymore.

    Been doing some research and now all sites say that licorice stops the breakdown of cortisol in the liver thereby supporting the adrenals. Whereas a few years ago they all said it stimulated the adrenals. Difficult to keep up!

  • I agree it is difficult to keep up! It's hard enough to read and process all the info! I'm only having the occasional liquorice tea now & touch wood no more migraines so :-)

  • Oh help, I was told liquorice was good for supporting the Adrenals (I'm also Hypothyroid), so I've been taking liquorice supplements. Now I'm not so sure, although I haven't noticed any adverse effects either. Argh, what a minefield!!

  • I know its all so confusing from what I've read it is good for adrenals? Were you advised to take them? I've only been drinking the liquorice tea x

  • I have been using liquorice for around 9 mths to support the adrenals (still not recovered ha ha).

    However during that time I have also been addressing my, at one time, severe migraine aura. In my case (and I know we all differ) I thought they were involved with my ongoing fatigue and stomach issues. So I have over several years done a gradual food elimination and now the aura are almost non existent. I still have the fatigue though.......

  • I took a liquorice tincture last Autumn on the advice of a nutrtionist, to support the adrenals, and felt it was really helping. But she did say this 'it is not good to take for a long time as it can result in low potassium levels which leads to high blood pressure.However, if you are eating lots of potassium rich green vegetables then that should balance it out. If you have fluid retention, i.e. swollen ankles, puffy face, then you know you should stop taking it. If you feel you are getting benefit from it then I suggest you continue it as a tea,'

  • I would try magnesium before blaming licorice tea. You could use liquid magnesium chloride or a good absorbable supplement like magnesium glycinate; not one used as a laxative. Often people think the if the serum level checks out they are good but at the cellular level they may not be.

  • Thankyou I will check this out x

  • Be careful with liquorice. It's extremely useful as a tonic for the adrenals and as such does rev up your system if eaten over a number of days. It's very useful if cortisol levels are low and you find it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings (a sure sign of adrenal fatigue). But otherwise it will cause anxiety and restlessness. If you suffer from hypothyroidism the anxiety caused won't help matters as thyroid activity is hampered by stress of any kind. This would be recognised by your system as stress.

    Written from experience.

  • I'm only drinking the tea & only occasionally now altho I could certainly do with something to get me going in the morning x

  • Don't know about liquorice tea but, having had migraine with aura most of my life, usually triggered by eating combinations of cheese, tomatoes, chocolate and red wine, I was intrigued to read the following in my son's diving magazine:

    " One illness which has been directly linked to the presence of a large PFO (patent foramen ovale) is migraine with aura, and a person with this condition should not consider diving without seeking expert medical advice ".

    Apparently, they could be more prone to decompression illness if they take up diving.

    I've also noticed that reading by an energy saving lightbulb or fluorescent lighting can set it off. Usually though, a cup of sweet, black coffee away from bright light relieves the aura and, if at work or needing to drive, can be a fairly quick and simple solution.

  • Oh my goodness I don't think I'd be able to cope if chocolate triggered mine! ;-) bright lights set mine off too & I avoid them when possible as I have dry eyes too, I had to re read I read driving in place of diving & had a panic moment then haha it's interesting thankfully diving has never appealed! :-)

  • My mother used to suffer terribly from migraines, had to lie in a dark room for several days until they went, couldn't even tolerate a drop of water without vomiting. She was undiagnosed hypo, probably Hashi's like me. For her it was chocolate that set it off, and nuts, too, I think. Two things that she adored. Nature is so unkind.

    Anyway, with her, the migraines disappeared like magic as soon as she hit menopause. And she caught up on her chocolate eating! lol

    I am so lucky that I don't get migraines - rarely even have a headache (touch wood!) - although my daughter gets them, and so do quite a few other female family members. I really sympathise with you over this problem. It must be awful.

    Hugs, Grey

  • My brother used to have migraines triggered by chocolate, tomatoes, oranges or cheese (he was too young at the time to be drinking red wine) and I understand these are very common foods that trigger migraines. Oranges give me arthritis. I even have to eat lime marmalade (or lemon and lime), rather than orange marmalade. They also cause a lot of intestinal discomfort. Try staying off these particular foods and see if things improve. I'm sure they will.

  • Interesting about marmalade as I love it...they say it's usually the food you crave that you're allergic to. Will try lime as you suggest. Thank you. x

  • So glad she could enjoy her chocolate after the menopause. My attacks also lessened after menopause as the menstrual cycle had often been another trigger. I only had a couple of headaches with vomiting when very young and am lucky that it is only the aura that is a bit get to know it's coming on when you realise that you are talking to someone and half their face is starting to disappear!

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