Q:

What are the side effects associated with using licorice?

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Side effects associated with licorice use include possible muscle pain and numbness when used in regular amounts, according to University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Large doses of licorice can lead to more serious side effects, including fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, water retention and heart attacks.

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Full Answer

Large, continual doses of licorice can also cause low potassium levels, paralysis, brain damage, decreased sexual function in men, and lack of menstruation in women, according to MedlinePlus. Individuals who have high blood pressure, kidney disease or heart disease or who consume a lot of salt can experience side effects at much smaller doses.

An individual should not use licorice near the time of a surgery or when pregnant or breastfeeding, according to MedlinePlus. Individuals with hypertonia, hypokalemia, or any condition possibly made worse by exposure to estrogen should also avoid licorice.

Side effects from licorice are caused by glycyrrhizin, according to UMMC. An individual’s licorice use is best monitored by a health care provider to ensure safety. Due to potentially serious side effects, licorice products should not be used for longer than four to six weeks.

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