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Liquorice extract 'reduces flushes'

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A liquorice extract may cut the chance of hot flushes by 80 per cent and alter the way menopausal women are treated, research suggests.

The extract, licogen, also appears to slow down the rate at which bones get thinner - something that can lead to osteoporosis in older women.

In a new study, experts at the University of Southern California gave women 50mg of licogen as a daily pill and followed them for a year.

They were compared with women given a dummy drug and another group of women given 100mg of licogen a day.

The small study, of 51 women, showed no extra benefits from 100mg over 50mg.

But women in the 50mg group saw their hot flushes drop by 80 per cent, from an average of around 10 a day to around two.

Furthermore, these women experienced fewer hot flushes at night - also known as night sweats - with a drop from around four a night to around two.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment but has proved controversial due to research showing an increased risk of cancer and stroke in some women.

Dr Marsha Baker presented the findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Orlando.

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