Medical warning, licorice

The FDA Warns That Black Licorice Can Cause Heart Problems in Adults.
(In case you wonder…I loath licorice.)

Reasonable people have agreed for decades that black licorice is the most disgusting, repulsive candy on the planet.

The US Food and Drug Administration is finally backing us up.
In a report released Monday, the FDA warns, “if you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.”
Two ounces is only about five Twizzler-sized ropes of licorice, or nine Red-Vine-sized pieces.
The sweetening compound in licorice root, glycyrrhizin, is the danger: [Glycyrrhetic acid](Licorice abuse: time to send a warning message) can elevate sodium levels and reduce potassium in the body.
That temporary potassium drop can cause some people to experience abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy, and congestive heart failure.
According to the FDA’s Linda Katz, potassium levels in licorice-eaters are usually restored with no permanent health problems once people stop eating the black stuff.
The FDA said that last year one “black licorice aficionado” had “a problem” after the person ate too much of it.
Traditional Chinese doctors have used licorice to treat gastric ulcers for thousands of years, but the National Institutes of Health cautions there’s insufficient data to know whether or not licorice root is an effective treatment for any condition.

Regardless, the reasons why anyone would ingest that foul-tasting rope regularly enough to cause a potassium problem remains a mystery to level-headed scientists everywhere.
This article was originally published by Business Insider. Please note our team at Science Alert is not unanimously against licorice.

This is copied from Science Alert via Business Insider and to them I give thanks for this article.

The moral of this story?
Don’t eat nasty stuff. (Snicker, snicker.)


You’re too funny @Garnet. :laughing: I guess I am one of the few who sometimes ate black licorice, I preferred the red. I had to give up wheat/gluten many years ago, so I no longer eat any licorice, which is good for me…:hugs: Thanks for sharing.


(hugging my 5 pound tub of back licorice) NEVER!!!


I’m also not the biggest fan of the candy- I’d trade it in for a nice piece of cake or a Twix bar any day of the week :joy:

As for the health effects, I’ve also heard that licorice is best to avoid for anyone with high blood pressure and/or heart problems :anatomical_heart:

For me, however, as someone with low blood pressure and GERD, I’ve actually been recommended to use licorice for lifting blood pressure to healthier levels and for aid with digestion :+1: But I’ve found its much better as a tea than the icky candy lol!

Licorice is also a potent natural sweetener and an herbal substitute for table sugar, for those trying to avoid it but who still have a sweet tooth :tooth:

Its generic name, “Glycyrrhiza,” comes from the ancient Greek words glycos riza, meaning “sweet root.”1 It has grown in the wild in many Middle Eastern, European, and western Asian countries.

Licorice is 50 times sweeter than table sugar, though some researchers have placed it at more than 150 times sweeter than sucrose. This intense sweetness can be traced to Glycyrrhizic acid, a multi-purpose molecule that consists of two sugar moieties. Glycyrrhizic acid, one of the main components found in Licorice root, is believed to contribute to the herb’s healing properties. The varied properties of this molecule have led to the surprising mix of products containing licorice today: medicines, cough syrups, herbal supplements, gum, drinks, and candy.

From The Fountain: Sweeter Than Sugar, Black as Night, Healing as Medicine

As with anything, I’d say carefully consider your unique health situation and don’t hesitate to consult with your medical professionals about any possible health effects from taking licorice.

:warning: Which means that the real danger with licorice is how often it is snuck into teas and other products- if you have any fancy tea blends, even if they don’t mention licorice in the name, CHECK THE INGREDIENTS ON THE BACK OF THE BOX. Licorice is a common one added to digestive and sometimes sleep/relaxing tea blends (ex. Tazo sneaks licorice in several of its tea blends)

Again, if you’re not in the risk group for licorice, it’s likely not something you need to worry about (especially in small doses). However, if you do suffer from high blood pressure and/or heart concerns, it is something to be aware of. And you should always be mindful of what you are putting in your body- herbs can be very potent, and it’s best to avoid taking herbal blends of unknown ingredients/mixtures, especially in larger doses :herb::question:

This is a great thing to bring to people’s attention- thank you for sharing the safety information for licorice and friendly heads up, @Garnet- it is appreciated! :heart::blush:


I have low blood pressure too, so same with licorice. I like it in tea as well.

“ the real danger with licorice is how often it is snuck into teas and other products

YES! This totally blew me away, to add “Did you know that 90 percent of the world’s licorice goes into cigarettes?” The Secrets In A Cigarette : NPR (Surprised to see that licorice is very much in cigarettes - especially as an ex-smoker. What helped me stop smoking was drinking mono-banana smoothies, I’ll get to that next. At that time wasn’t aware, was just follow vegan type diet that focused on bananas).

Licorice also “ FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall .” (Hypothetical, maybe those moon-banana smoothies helped me with smoking. :woman_shrugging:)

You’re so right about it being in products we are not aware of, it also concerns me with what’s doesn’t have to be disclosed.

BONUS: BUT First and foremost, and cannot stress, do not self medicate, talk with your doctor on the best course of action.
Now with glycyrrhizin acid, was reading on how it’s used with regards to SARS coronavirus (from accredit medical sources, and government, not loosely based theories). “ The phytotherapeutic properties of Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) extract are mainly attributed to glycyrrhizin (GR) and glycyrrhetinic acid (GA). Among their possible pharmacological actions, the ability to act against viruses belonging to different families, including SARS coronavirus, is particularly important.” Can Antiviral Activity of Licorice Help Fight COVID-19 Infection?

Lol, true. As a child, loathed that candy, but later on acquired a taste for it! It’s weirdly good. :crazy_face:

The warnings are good. Read about a death that very well was linked to it, from Wikipedia (who referenced to an article from New England Journal of Medicine and the New York Times). “In 2020, physicians reported a case of a man who died of cardiac arrest as a result of drastically low potassium levels. He had been eating a bag of black licorice a day for three weeks previously.[9][47]

Sooner than later I’d like to write a bit on licorice, for informative purposes. Even magical properties on it (read some magical properties of it, I feel like it hasn’t gotten a fair shot on other uses in the world of magic(k)).


That is super out-of-this-world sweet!


Oh, wow- I did not know either of these things! And same with it causing lower potassium levels- which is worrisome, although it sounds like someone needs to eat a really wild amount of licorice over a period of time in order for it to become such a serious problem.

I am learning so much about licorice, there is a lot more to it than I ever could have guessed! Thank you so much for sharing your research, @Eliza_01- these are really interesting (and to many, very important) aspects of licorice to learn about! :pray::heart:

I know I said it before, but I would love to read your collection of notes and thoughts about licorice, especially its uses in magick! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I’ll look forward to your post, Eliza! :two_hearts:

No kidding- that is crazy sweet! :laughing: But believe it or not, it still doesn’t come close to Stevia (another natural sugar substitute, like licorice):

Stevia is a sugar substitute made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It’s about 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar

From WebMD: What is Stevia?

That is super sweet! My teeth hurt just thinking about it :tooth: :joy:


That’s head exploding level sweet! Thank you for this (seriously, I so wrongly assumed and under estimated the sweeten power of Stevia)


It’s my pleasure, @Eliza_01! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

And haha I do the same thing and underestimate plants a lot too, so it’s fun (and eye-opening!) to chat and learn more about them! Plants are amazing and they have a lot of power, it’s always fun to discuss with fellow green witches/plant lovers! :green_heart: :blush::herb:


Interesting, due to my medications I’m often low on sodium and high on potassium, no wonder my body is craving salted licorice, that sweet dark stuff, so it’s not just “like attracts like” :sweat_smile: