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Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 - Contraindications: Gall bladder disease, kidney disease, pheochromocytoma, and other adrenal tumors, diseases that cause low serum potassium, fasting, anorexia, bulimia, untreated hypothyroidism.

Warning 2 - High doses of Licorice may cause hypertension, hypokalemia, sodium retention, and water retention.

Warning 3 - Antiarrhythmics: Licorice increases the effects of antiarrhythmics. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 4 - Antihypertensives: Licorice may increase the risk of hypokalemia (abnormally low level of potassium in the circulating blood leading to weakness and heart abnormalities; associated with adrenal tumors or starvation or taking diuretics). Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 5 - Cardiac glycosides: Licorice may cause increased toxicity and increased hypokalemia. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 6 - Corticosteroids: Licorice may increase the effects of corticosteroids. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 7 - Diuretics: The use of Licorice with diuretics may cause increased hypokalemia. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 8 - Azole Antifungals: Licorice may increase the level of azole antifungals in the body. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Used as a natural health remedy: Licorice is used internally for the following benefits:
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Antiulcer treatment (duodenal ulcers)
  • Expectorant
  • Diet aid (See other herbs for weight loss)
  • Gastric problems
  • Regulates blood sugar and reduces cravings for sweets
  • Reduces frequent urination during menopause
  • Relieve nausea
  • Regulate menstrual cycle

Side Effects of Licorice

The side effects that may occur with high doses of Licorice:
  1. Sodium retention
  2. water retention
  3. hypokalemia
  4. myoglobinuria
Other side effects may also occur when using Licorice. (See form below)

Licorice supplements are available over-the-counter.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2011 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Licorice and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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