Report on Licorice Side Effects and Usage


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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