While there is no one-word answer to that question, looking deeper into the side-effects of licorice will reveal the truth. Lack of awareness of the potential hazards of over-consumption of licorice has resulted in many people suffering from its side-effects.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a popular sweet flavoring in confectionery and in some tobacco brands. For centuries, it has offered many health benefits and has been used across the world to treat various disorders. However, licorice can cause serious side-effects, some of which are mentioned here.
1. Women And Licorice
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding must avoid licorice. It increases a pregnant woman’s risk of premature delivery and can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. It may even lead to menstrual disorders in women. Licorice also affects women by increasing the estrogen and prolactin level.
Consuming licorice in large quantities causes potassium levels the body to drop sharply. Some people may even experience arrhythmia, high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.
3. Interference With Medication
Persons who are under prescribed medication must exercise caution before consuming licorice. It can interact with some medications, herbs, and dietary supplements. People taking diuretics or medications for high blood pressure should be especially wary as licorice may inhibit the effectiveness of the drugs. Consult your doctor about the adverse effects licorice and if it will interfere with your medication.
4. Chemical Imbalance
Licorice contains glycyrrhetinic acid that causes the kidneys to remove potassium excessively. Potassium is an essential mineral vital for the normal activity of the heart. This leads to electrolyte imbalance by disrupting the sodium and potassium balance in the body. It may also pose dangers to people with kidney or liver disease.
Licorice has profound effects on the body, and these physiological effects can hurt testosterone production and male sexual performance in many ways. Men who eat too much licorice can have lower interest in sex and experience problems in erection (erectile dysfunction).
Consuming one to two pounds of licorice candy in one go may cause the blood vessels in your eyes to spasm, causing temporarily impaired vision. Vision problems have been reported in people who use licorice root extract. It may cause blurred vision or even loss of vision in some cases.
Most licorice products hardly contain true licorice extract and instead use aniseed oil as a substitute for that unique flavor. The side-effects of licorice root are primarily connected to glycyrrhizin. Licorice in deglycyrrhizinated (DGL) form reduces the chances of serious side-effects. Products that contain DGL are considered safer to use and are probably the best option to avoid any side-effects. Consult your doctor before taking licorice. If you experience sudden muscle weakness or irregular heart rhythms after consuming licorice, stop eating it and immediately contact your doctor.