licorice (generic name)
- Auto Immune Conditions
- Bladder & Kidney Health
- Brain & Nervous System
- Care Transitions
- Dental Health
- Emotional Health
- Eye Health
- Falls Prevention
- Financial Planning
- General Safety
- Health Care Basics
- Healthy Living
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Health
- High Blood Pressure
- Life Transitions
- Lung Health
- Men's Health
- Nutrition & Weight Management
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Sexual Health
- Stomach & Digestive Health
- Stress & Anxiety
- Women's Health
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Allergies, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, antitumor, asthma, bacterial infections, bad breath, blood disorders, breast cancer, bronchitis, burns, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, colorectal cancer, constipation, coronavirus, cough, cysts, depression, detoxification, diabetes, diuretic, diverticulitis, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), Epstein-Barr virus, fever, fibromyalgia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gentamicin induced kidney damage, graft healing, heartburn, Helicobacter pylori infection, hepatoma, high cholesterol, hormone regulation, hot flashes, hyperpigmentation disorders, immune system stimulation, indigestion, infertility, inflammatory skin disorders, laryngitis, liver cancer, liver protection, lung cancer, melanoma, melasma, menopausal symptoms, metabolic abnormalities, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), muscle cramps, non-ulcer dyspepsia, obesity, osteoarthritis, postherpetic neuralgia, postural hypotension, premenstrual syndrome, prostate cancer, pruritus (rash), rheumatoid arthritis, RSV, SARS, skin disorders, sore throat, systemic lupus erythematosus, urinary tract inflammation, weight loss.
Adults (18 years and older)
Commercial preparation : 3.5 grams a day of a commercial preparation of licorice has been studied for body fat mass reduction.
DGL extract tablets: Doses of 380-1,140 milligrams three times daily taken by mouth 20 minutes before meals have been used.
Licorice fluid extract (10 percent to 20 percent glycyrrhizin): Doses of 2-4 milliliters per day have been taken by mouth.
Licorice powdered root (4 percent to 9 percent glycyrrhizin): Doses of 1-4 grams taken by mouth daily, divided into three or four doses, have been used.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend licorice for use in children, and licorice is not recommended due to potential side effects.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
People should avoid licorice if they have a known allergy to licorice, any component of licorice, or any member of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) plant family (pea family). There is a report of rash after applying a cosmetic product containing licorice to the skin.
Side Effects and Warnings
Licorice contains a chemical called glycyrrhizic acid, which is responsible for many of the reported side effects. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) has had the glycyrrhizic acid removed, and therefore is considered safer for use.
Many of the adverse effects of licorice result from actions on hormone levels in the body. By altering the activities of certain hormones, licorice may cause electrolyte disturbances. Possible effects include sodium and fluid retention, low potassium levels, and metabolic alkalosis.
Electrolyte abnormalities may also lead to irregular heartbeats, heart attack, kidney damage, muscle weakness, or muscle breakdown. Licorice should be used cautiously by people with congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, kidney or liver disease, fluid retention (edema), high blood pressure, underlying electrolyte disturbances, hormonal abnormalities, or those taking diuretics.
Hormonal imbalances have been reported with the use of licorice, such as abnormally low testosterone levels in men or high prolactin levels and estrogen levels in women. However, study results conflict. These adverse effects may reduce fertility or cause menstrual abnormalities.
Reduced body fat mass has been observed with the use of licorice, but weight gain is also possible. Acute pseudo-aldosteronism syndrome has been associated with licorice. Paralysis has been reported in a patient taking licorice that contributed to low potassium levels. Thyrotoxic periodic paralysis (TPP) has been associated with licorice. Metabolic alkalosis and seizure has been reported from licorice in antacid.
Licorice has been reported to cause high blood pressure, including dangerously high blood pressure with symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and hypertensive encephalopathy with stroke-like effects (for example, one-sided weakness).
High doses of licorice may cause temporary vision problems or loss. Ocular side effects have been reported. Central retinal vein occlusion has been associated with licorice. A case report exists of licorice-induced hypokalemia associated with dropped head syndrome (DHS).
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Hormonal imbalances reported with the use of licorice include abnormally low testosterone levels in men and high prolactin levels/estrogen levels in women. However, study results conflict. 17-OHP and LH levels may also be affected.