The bottom line is that people with history of cardiac disease should be strongly warned about excess licorice intake. Those who are more susceptible to arrhythmias should minimize their licorice intake especially if they are concurrently on medicines that lower potassium level, such as thiazide or loop diuretics. Those with congestive heart failure or resistant hypertension should avoid licorice-containing products because of its salt-retaining effect. As well, if one is taking digoxin or warfarin, they should be advised of potential toxicity. These recommendations should be more emphasized in countries that are known to be higher consumers of licorice.References 1. Fiore C, Eisenhut M, Ragazzi E, Zanchin G, Armanini D. J Ethnopharmacol. A history of the therapeutic use of liquorice in Europe. 2005 Jul 14;99(3):317-24. 2. Omar HR. The cardiovascular complications of licorice. Cardiovascular Endocrinology 2013, 2:46–49. 3. Isbrucker RA, Burdock GA. Risk and safety assessment on the consumption of Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza sp.), its extract and powder as a food ingredient, with emphasis on the pharmacology and toxicology of glycyrrhizin. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006 Dec;46(3):167-92. Epub 2006 Aug 1. 4. Asl MN, Hosseinzadeh H. Review of pharmacological effects of Glycyrrhiza sp. and its bioactive compounds. Phytother Res. 2008 Jun;22(6):709-24. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2362. 5. Scientific Committee on Food. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on glycyrrhizinic acid and its ammonium salt. Brussels: European Commission Heath and Consumer Protection Directorate General 2003; Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/out186_en.pdf. Accessed December 16, 2013.
Licorice is a plant, and is used as a sweetener, a thirst quencher, in various candies and drinks, and its root has some medicinal applications. Licorice is used for various digestive system issues, such as stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, and chronic gastritis. Some individuals use it for a sore throat, bronchitis, cough, and infections caused by bacteria or viruses. Licorice is also used for osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), liver disorders, malaria, tuberculosis, food poisoning, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). But how safe is it, and what are some of the complications of eating licorice?