Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests these factors may cause problems in brain function, including abnormal activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

The mainstay of treatment is usually medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. Increasingly, research suggests these treatments may normalize brain function associated with depression.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) was one of the most widely known medicines in ancient history, and records of its use include Assyrian tablets of around 2000 BC and Chinese herbals of the same period. It has long been used for both culinary and medical purposes.

Used for flavoring and sweetening candies and medical remedies, licorice also has potent effects of its own, particularly for ulcers and adrenal insufficiencies. Whole. It is also used for asthmatic coughs, as an antispasmodic and ulcer remedy, and to cool ‘hot’ conditions. The roots are unearthed in the autumn of the fourth season. It is grown in India, Spain, Iran, Russia, China & Italy.

Licorice contains an organic compound called glycyrrhizin which raises the body’s level of cortisol by inhibiting its breakdown. Full strength unaltered licorice extract is known to resemble cortisol, one of the hormones controlled by the adrenals. Because of this action, licorice acts as an adrenal stimulant and assists adrenal production by mimicking the actions of cortisol. Moreover, research suggests that glycyrrhizin increases the half-life of circulating cortisol in the body by inhibiting its metabolism and breakdown.

In one study, glycyrrhizin was shown to slow the clearance of cortisol in patients with adrenocortical insufficiency. Licorice also contains isoflavans, which have estrogen-like activity, and are thus involved in the modulation of hormonal activity. A 2004 Israeli study revealed that the phytoestrogens in licorice were beneficial in treating mild to moderate depression in pre- and postmenopausal women.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been associated with low adrenal function resulting from stress that impacts the adrenal glands. Depression is often seen in people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The main difference between these conditions is that chronic fatigue syndrome is primarily a physical disorder while depression is a mental health disorder. Research has found that there can be some overlap between the two.

Both depression and chronic fatigue syndrome can make someone feel extremely tired, even after a good night’s rest. Additionally, it’s also easy to mistake feelings of fatigue for depression and vice-versa. Depression occurs when a person feels sad, anxious, or hopeless for an extended period of time. People who are depressed often have sleep problems that involve sleeping too much or not sleeping at all. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that causes a person to experience continuous feelings of fatigue that don’t have any other underlying causes.

Licorice has been found to be helpful for some people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Licorice root has been shown to stimulate the adrenal glands and block the breakdown of active cortisol in the body.

Riccardo Baschetti of Padova, Italy, sent a letter to the New Zealand Medical Journal reporting his personal success in treating his own case of CFS with licorice root. If his theory is correct, it occurred to him that licorice consumption, which potentates glucocorticoid hormone action, might be useful in chronic fatigue syndrome. His CFS had persisted for 20 months with unsatisfactory results with various treatments. After a few days of taking licorice, his energy returned.

For more information about using alternative therapies in depression treatment and counseling visit the following website:

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. is the author of Healing and Wholeness: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Mental Health and Fasting: An Exceptional Human Experience. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and accreditations as a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Hypnotherapist, and Registered Addiction Specialist. She provides counseling and psychotherapy in San Jose, California. To learn about her private practice, visit her website http://DrRandiFredricks.com.