The Uses, Benefits, and Dangers of Liquorice

Updated on April 12, 2017
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Mohan is a physician with over 20 years experience in family medicine. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of GPs, London.

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Why Licorice?

Licorice (or liquorice) is an extract from the root of the plant Glycyrrhiza glabra. The extract has been consumed by humans since ancient times and is still quite popular in candy form, as a flavoring agent, and as a health supplement. Licorice candy is popular among young and old and has that unique, sweet yet medicinal flavor.

Little do we know that the flavor we associate with licorice in candies is mostly from aniseed oil that helps to augment the taste. True licorice has an intensely sweet, musty, earthy flavor.

Since licorice falls under the category of "supplement," its production and supply are largely unregulated. It does not need approval by the FDA or other health protection agencies and can be sold (and consumed) freely. This allows people to make exaggerated claims of its benefits and encourages unwary consumers to use it without really understanding the balance between benefits and dangers.

Let's try and get a balanced overview of scientific truths about this ancient remedy. If you're only interested in the potential dangers, scroll down towards the end of the article.

Licorice Root
Licorice Root

The flavor we associate with licorice in candies is mostly from aniseed oil that helps to augment the taste.

What is Licorice?

The roots of the leguminous plant Glycyrrhiza glabra yield a sweet sap that is one of the sweetest naturally occurring substances. It is 30 to 50 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose)! The extracted sap in a liquid or solid form is what is commonly known as licorice, a name that comes from Old French licoresse which is, in turn, from the Greek glukurrhiza, meaning "sweet root."

There over 20 varieties of the Glycyrrhiza plant, which is is a tall shrub that grows in the wild and is also cultivated in Southern Europe and Asia. Licorice stick is the fleshy underground stem that can reach up to 20 feet from the main root. Chopped into segments around eight inches long, the sticks are sold widely in the herbal market.

G. glabra
G. glabra | Source

"Licorice" in Many Languages

Language
Licorice name
Pharmacological
Radix Liquiritiae (root); Succus Liquiritiae (extract)
Arabic
Irq as-sus, sous
Armenian
Madootag, Matutak
Basque
Erregaliz
Chinese (Cantonese)
甘草 [gām chóu]
Chinese (Mandarin)
甘草 [gān cǎo]
Danish
Lakrids, Lakridsplante
Dutch
Zoethout
English
Spanish Juice, Black Sugar, Liquorice
French
Réglisse
German
Süßholz, Lakritze
Greek
Γλυκόριζα Glikoriza, Glykoriza
Hindi
मुलेठी Muleti
Japanese
蕗草, Nankin-kanzō
Norwegian
Lakrisrot
Polish
Korzeń lukrecji, Lukrecja gładka
Portuguese
Alcaçuz
Russian
Лакричник, Солодка - Lakrichnik, Solodka
Sanskrit
Madhuuka, Yashtimadhu
Spanish
Orozuz, Regaliz
Tamil
அதிமதுரம் Atimaduram
Thai
ชะเอมเทศ Cha-em thet
Turkish
Meyan kökü

Historical Uses of Licorice

  • In Buddhism, an infusion of licorice is used to ceremonially bathe Buddha's statue on his birthday.
  • Egyptian pharaohs had a traditional licorice drink called erqesos that was supposed to have healing powers.
  • Ancient Chinese used licorice to prolong life and aid in healing.
  • Ancient Roman sweets included nougat and licorice.
  • Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte used to chew licorice constantly. He carried a small tortoise shell box of licorice pellets along with his snuff box. His teeth turned black from overindulgence!
  • Texan folk medicine used the root extract to reduce fever after childbirth and to help expel the placenta.

History

Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, and Indian cultures are all familiar with licorice. There was a stash of Licorice roots found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.

  • Chinese licorice comes from the species Glycyrrhiza uralensis. In traditional Chinese medicine, licorice root is one of the most important ingredients, with many health benefits attributed to its use. It has been in recorded use since the Han Dynasty of 2nd and 3rd centuries. The oldest extant specimen, first introduced in 8th century from China, is still found in the Imperial storehouse of Shosoin in Nara, Japan.
  • Chinese traditional medicine uses combinations of many herbs, often divided into a 'monarch herb' (or the main ingredient) and others such as 'minister herbs' and 'guide herbs.' Licorice is used as a guide herb that is said to enhance the effectiveness of other herbs as well as help sweeten the concoction. In this way, around 50% of Chinese herbal remedies contain various amounts of licorice.
  • In India, the licorice root carries the ancient Sanskrit name of 'Yasthimadhu' (sweet- stalk) and has been a mainstay of Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines.
  • In the UK, the Benedictine monks who migrated from Spain during the crusades brought the licorice plant to their monastery in ancient West Yorkshire. It was grown in the old town of Pontefract and the extracts were used to flavor drinks. Around 500 years ago, the locals started to make licorice candies known as Pontefract cakes. While the plants do not exist there anymore, the candy is still made to this day. Unlike many other 'licorice' candies, which are merely amped-up by using aniseed, Pontefract cakes still contain pure licorice (imported from Turkey) mixed with molasses.
  • In the US, only one species of wild licorice plant exists, Glycyrrhiza lepidota. There has not been any commercial planting of this plant. The Teton Dakota Sioux tribes used the leaves as poultice and the roots for toothache. Texan folk medicine used the root extract to reduce fever after childbirth and to help expel the placenta.

The red segment represents Glycyrrhizin
The red segment represents Glycyrrhizin

A Chemistry Lesson

The main chemical of licorice extract is the organic compound Glycyrrhizin (or Glycyrhhizic acid). This makes up for around 6-25% and is the major active component. Its effects have been widely studied and are still under research.

Glycyrrhizin shares its structure with the corticosteroids produced by our adrenal glands. It is a sweet glycoside that foams with contact with water.

Licorice extract is said to mimic stress hormones, has an estrogenic property, and also helps raise prostaglandin levels in the body.

For over 3000 years, licorice has been considered a demulcent (soothing to irritated membranes), an expectorant (loosening and expelling mucus secretions), an anti-inflammatory agent, and a liver protectant.

Health Benefits and Claims

Historically, licorice has been associated with many claims— some have been studied and are considered plausible, others have been determined to be fiction, and many other claims have never been researched. For over 3000 years, it has been considered a demulcent (soothing to irritated membranes), an expectorant (loosening and expelling mucus secretions), an anti-inflammatory agent, and a liver protectant. It has also been said to have ulcer-healing properties in the stomach.

The trouble with food supplements is that they are not patented by drug companies. The pharma are unlikely to pour millions of dollars into their research as no one can actually own an extract. However, many interested parties have researched some of the claims to weed out fact from fiction.

Some have attempted to isolate the active ingredients that confer health benefits. As Glycyrrhizin is associated with many side effects in large doses, de-Glycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) has been tried and found to retain benefits without the attendant side effects.

It must be said that while there are many anecdotal claims and historic usage, there has not been much modern robust research to encourage widespread usage for medicinal reasons. Also, since licorice can interact with other medicines and can cause many dangerous side effects, caution is needed in unregulated use without the advice of a medical professional.

The trouble with food supplements is that they are not patented by drug companies. The pharma are unlikely to fund research as no one can actually own an extract.

Healing Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are produced when the protective mucosal barrier is lost. As prostaglandins help in restoring and enhancing the defensive barrier, it has been proven that licorice extract in suitable doses can help ulcer-healing. It does so by increasing prostaglandin levels.

A Dutch researcher has proven that licorice not only helps heal ulcers but also helps prolong the longevity of the stomach lining. It may also inhibit the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Some Iranian researchers have found aspirin coated with licorice compounds have lesser gastric side effects.

However, further research is needed.

Sore Throat, Bronchitis, and Asthma

Licorice is used widely in the tobacco industry for flavoring. The characteristic taste of cigarettes has to do with the level of licorice used in curing the tobacco. The tobacco industry knows that licorice extract opens up the airways and helps enhance the effective penetration of smoke and nicotine, giving each cigarette more "bang for the buck."

Traditionally, licorice flavored lozenges and tinctures have been used to soothe inflamed throat membranes and ease coughing and breathing. It has been a major constituent of many ancient expectorants. The effect of opening up airways may be of benefit in asthma where the closed airways cause wheezing.

Licorice Lozenges: "Clarifies the Voice and Clears the Throat'
Licorice Lozenges: "Clarifies the Voice and Clears the Throat'

Toothache, Oral Hygiene, and Voice

  • Chewing on wild licorice stem is said to work as a tooth cleaner, helping combat gum disease.
  • A tea made of licorice extract has been used by Blackfoot Indian tribes to augment their voice during marathon singing sessions. It may work by enhancing the strength of the vocal cords in small doses. Chewing licorice gum may confer similar benefits.

Italian Licorice toothpaste
Italian Licorice toothpaste

Future Potential

  • As licorice extract can mimic a glucocorticoid hormone, people with undiagnosed and borderline adrenocortical insufficiency (Addison's Disease) may benefit from the extract in small doses. However, this is currently being researched to find the dosage where benefits outweigh the risk.
  • Some anecdotal claims that it helps in chronic fatigue syndrome are being studied.
  • A recent study in animals has shown that a constituent of licorice isoliquiritigenin
    may be of use in chronic cocaine abuse and may benefit as an antidote and as a weaning agent when withdrawing from cocaine by inhibiting dopamine receptors. It is yet to be tested in humans.
  • Some agencies report that the liver protective effect of licorice may be of benefit in treating chronic Hepatitis caused by viruses such as Hepatitis B and C.
  • Its estrogenic effect may also help women who may suffer from higher testosterone levels that cause unsightly hair growth, hair loss, and fatigue during menopause.

Poison in high doses!
Poison in high doses!

FDA Warnings!

  • More than two or three 40-50g bags of black licorice candy daily can lead to health problems within 1-2 weeks.
  • If you are 40 years old or older, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could cause irregular heart rhythm (or arrhythmia).
  • Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. As a result, some people experience high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.
  • It can interact with some medications, herbs, and dietary supplements. Consult a health care professional to discuss drug interactions.
  • If you have been eating a lot of black licorice and experience sudden muscle weakness or irregular heart rhythms, stop eating it immediately and contact your doctor.

And Now the Bad News!

True potent Licorice has largely been abandoned by many health practitioners due to the serious side effects.

In large doses, licorice can cause:

  • Serious hypertension (raised blood pressure)
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Hypokalemia (reduced potassium)
  • Heart rhythm disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men
  • Menstrual disorders in women
  • Reactivation of breast cancer

There have been documented cases where people have been admitted to hospitals with muscle paralysis and very low serum potassium levels after consuming large quantities of black licorice. At doses of over 200g per day, it can be very dangerous, so caution is advised when overindulging in black licorice candies or pontefract cakes! One bag can contain 40-50 g of the stuff so more than 2-3 bags daily can lead to health problems within 1-2 weeks.

Consumption of 100 mg or less per day is not known to cause any ill effects, but you should always consult a medical practitioner if you have other medical problems. Thankfully most licorice 'candies' have very little true licorice extract and rely on aniseed oil for that unique flavor.

It is better not to take licorice while pregnant or breast feeding.

FDA Warning
FDA Warning

Drug Interactions with Licorice: Caution

Diuretics
Corticosteroids
Digoxin
Bumetanide ( Bumex)
Betamethasone
 
Furosemide ( Lasix)
Cortisone
Hormone Replacement Therapy (Estrogens)
Hydrochlorthiazide( Esidrix, Oretic)
Prednisolone ( Ovapred, Pediapred)
 
Chlorothiazide (Diruil)
Hydrocortisone ( Cortef)
Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
Fludrocortisone (Florinef)
 
and others...
Traimcinolone ( Kenalog)
 

Various Licorice-Containing Products on the Market

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pontefract CakesHaribo's Pontefract CakesLicorice infused Egyptian TeaLicorice LozengesYasthimadhuLakritzeNewman's Licorice TwistsPanda Licorice BearsPlaque in Licorice Way, Pontefract UK
Pontefract Cakes
Pontefract Cakes
Haribo's Pontefract Cakes
Haribo's Pontefract Cakes
Licorice infused Egyptian Tea
Licorice infused Egyptian Tea
Licorice Lozenges
Licorice Lozenges
Yasthimadhu
Yasthimadhu
Lakritze
Lakritze
Newman's Licorice Twists
Newman's Licorice Twists
Panda Licorice Bears
Panda Licorice Bears
Plaque in Licorice Way, Pontefract UK
Plaque in Licorice Way, Pontefract UK

On Balance

As with most ancient remedies, there are a lot of anecdotal claims of health benefits. However, due to lack of robust research, it is hard to recommend more than a cautious, occasional use of very low doses of black licorice.

Many licorice candies don't actually contain much real licorice; however, when taking authentic licorice extracts, candies, or lozenges, it is better not to overindulge.

Hopefully more research will unlock the potential of this ancient root that has fascinated so many!

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Susan Ham 

        9 months ago

        I did know these side effects as i had a father that LOVED him some licorice. His doc said not too much it will raise blood pressure. Thanks for the rest of the story DOCMO, you are terrific! All of us could benefit from the great things licorice can improve. Thanks for all the info

      • profile image

        Mansi 

        13 months ago

        Hey I hv heard that licorice is good fr those who hv ovarian cyst ... does it really work...

      • profile image

        geeta bhagat 

        15 months ago

        I have a cough that is on and off sort of allergic cough, I stay in Mumbai city that is now highly polluted with towers coming at every 10 metres away. I am boiling a Yasthimadhu ( licorice stick ) brought from Kerala and i have the water after boiling it in it with ginger turmeric & garlic, twice a day. I find it is helpful. How may days should i have it so as not to exceed intake ??

      • profile image

        reesc 

        15 months ago

        Liquorish. It is a bit like liquor i guess...the way it 'opens us up'...something to chew on there for me...verbal osmosis

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        17 months ago from Norfolk, England

        It's been really interesting reading your article about licorice. I've never liked it myself, but know many people that do. It was particularly interesting reading what it means in different languages. I've learned a lot about licorice from reading this! Thankyou. =)

      • profile image

        Jane Stratton 

        18 months ago

        Can you post the link to the breast cancer research?

      • profile image

        Jane Stratton 

        18 months ago

        Came across this site when searching for a liquor or flavouring made with REAL licorice extract not aniseed, as my baking business is nut and seed free. Very interesting. I used to chew licorice root daily because I liked it...until a naturopath said not too as I had a high stress job and licorice was an adrenal stimulant. That was pre-internet, so I could not easily verify.

        I just discovered Pontrefact cakes and have gone through quite a few bags the past month. Was finishing up one when I read your article! Now I am concerned when I read about "reactivation of breast cancer" and arythmia. Geez, can't smoke, can't drink, can't eat sugar, now I can't eat licorice. ....

        When I was young, doctors would scoff at the suggestion of herbs as medicine- but now all this evidence of their potentially potent effects! I recall once getting hooked on the taste of a roasted dandelion coffee substitute and drank 2-3 cups a day. My doctor was freaking out after my annual physical as my bilirubin levels were elevated. She couldn't accept the suggestion that as dandelion is a known cholagogue, it was likely that the elevation was simply due to that.

      • profile image

        Tess 

        19 months ago

        Wow,what a lot of info in one hub.Thank you Docmo.

        I am nearly 80 yrs old and how well I remember chewing on licorice sticks as a child .One stick cost us a farthing but seemed to last forever,We called it sticky lice.We also loved eating ponterfract cakes which cost a whole penny for a cone shaped bag.That was a real treat but our pocket money didn't stretch that far very often.We would stir a cake into water and make a drink.how on earth we enjoyed it I don't know as now it tastes ugh .I still eat licorice but find it does cause my body to retain fluid so don't have it so often. Thanks again Blessings Tess.

      • profile image

        Estelle 

        20 months ago

        I'm a little confused...is it INGESTING licorice or using skin care products with licorice in it bad for breast cancer...or both?

      • profile image

        judeebean 

        21 months ago

        thought i read licorce used to have arsenic in it and with a hair sample of Nspoleon they figured he died of arsenic poisening

      • profile image

        Max 

        2 years ago

        I've chewed the root as a quit-smoking aid. Generally just to replace the 'thing in the mouth,' but it worked so well I assumed it had some medicinal use too. Hard to believe it causes hypertension, seems to work the opposite on me.

        Boy, all these people freaking out how dangerous this article makes licorice seem. It all sounds pretty tame to me. And the times I've used it to quit smoking, I'd have a chunk in my mouth 3/4 my waking hours for a week straight, and never noticed any issues.

      • profile image

        Stanley 

        2 years ago

        Mrs. Grieve's Modern Herbal (1931) says "The sugar of Liquorice may safely be taken by diabetic patients." I have been using a product I discovered in a Latino/Asian grocery called Licorice Ramzy, ingredients: peeled licorice roots crushed and saturated with pure licorice extract. It seems to be diminishing my craving for alcohol, which I have been struggling with.

      • profile image

        raima 

        3 years ago

        Hello docmo, it was really interesting all the research which u hv put up in this article on licorice. My mother is suffering from pancreatic cancer, someone suggested to give her licorice. Will it be safe for her as she is on chemotherapy or will it react with her chemotherapy medicines???

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        3 years ago from UK

        @bob - Depends on how much - it is hard to estimate how much liquorice one consumes from the root- as I say in the article a little is helpful- also make sure you are not on any of the medication that liquorice interacts with.

      • profile image

        bob 

        3 years ago

        I chew the roots purchased from a heath shop. once they soften I get shots of the juice. Is this beneficial or harmful

      • profile image

        Kate Gilbert 

        3 years ago

        Just ate this while sucking and chewing a good old fashioned licorice stick. All the more enjoyable for that!

      • profile image

        Mary-Joe 

        3 years ago

        Being Dutch, I have eaten huge quantities of licorice. I love it in tea form too. We use to have licorice extract in the shape of a black stick. We put it in a bottle and shook it and then sucked out the foamy part, repeating this endlessly over days.

        I can not imagine anybody eating 2-3 bags a day! Diabetes will get'm before anything else! Also, most licorice contains gelatine. It always makes me wonder about the danger of BSE. Any thoughts?

      • profile image

        Elizabeth Kirby 

        3 years ago

        Excellent article, brilliant research, very comprehensive and interesting. I have loved liquorice since I was a child and still eat it many years later. I'm on a lot of medication which makes me constipated but with regular consumption of liquorice I find it to be a great natural laxative. But apart from that, I just love the taste especially the natural hard sticks. Thank you for such a great piece on my favourite sweet.

      • profile image

        divya 

        4 years ago

        A very alert mes which in descriptive and sequencial..thank uu

      • profile image

        kumar 

        4 years ago

        licorice base flavoured water available in India consuming daily it will be benefit as per company they add only 0.005%/l per day licorice flavor in drinking water to improve taste and health benefit i have tried water is soft to drink good taste better then normal water and price is same more info given in website ihwf.org.in,

        friends i like to know consuming flavoured water will give any side effects

      • profile image

        Yova 

        4 years ago

        Being a fan of licorice (and now also a big fan of Docmo), I looked up the FDA info, and found this from Consumer Reports:

        "Thankfully, nearly all of the licorice candy in the U.S. isn't made from actual licorice root. (Anise oil, which mimics the taste and smell of licorice, is used instead.) And the abnormal heart rhythms and other side effects aren't permanent.

        Still, the FDA warns that adults over 40 years old with heart conditions probably shouldn't over-indulge. The agency says more than two ounces a day for more than two weeks could lead to arrhythmia."

        Maybe there's fresher news out there now, but if some of you are still sobbing over the red vines, this might cheer you up.

        Thanks so much for your very well written article, Docmo!

      • profile image

        ABHISHEK TIWARI 

        4 years ago

        How to regain my hair at bald paches area

      • D.Juris Stetser profile image

        D.Juris Stetser 

        4 years ago from South Dakota

        Sob! I LOVE the stuff, darn it...but those side effects are really important to know. Surprised how little the information is made available to you. You, however were right on the mark again!! Thanks so much. This was fascinating, Helpful to the max, Interesting and Awesome job! Grateful for the info...not too happy but sincerely grateful...Thanks Docmo

      • profile image

        sairam,chennai 

        5 years ago

        i have seen one of my friend from Taiwan is drinking the medicine water prepared by him by boiling 2 lits of water along with 100 grams of wheat + 10 slices of Licorice root( which is very very sweat + 2 nos of Jujube or red date for 15 minutes . he said it is good for ulcer, stress and for lungs problems

      • vibesites profile image

        vibesites 

        5 years ago from United States

        Wow, I didn't know that licorice heightens blood pressure, I've never known such a plant (or a plant part) could cause that, I've always thought of cholesterol and fatty foods being synonymous with hypertension. And health dangers to women as well. Learned something new today. Voted up and useful/interesting. :)

      • profile image

        alwaysamber 

        5 years ago

        Wow! This is interesting. I didn't know that liquorice had any dangers. I'm not a huge fan of liquorice, but it's still good to be informed. Thanks!

      • KDeus profile image

        Keely Deuschle 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Very well written article about licorice! I love it, but don't have it very often. Actually, it's probably been a few years at least. I knew about the issue with reducing potassium but did not know it could cause breast cancer reoccurance. As a breast cancer survivor, this will make me think twice about licorice. Thank you for sharing and educating me! Voted up and pinned.

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 

        5 years ago from Western NC

        You know, I never liked the taste of liquorice that much, thus I didn't know about the health benefits and dangers. I got quite an education from this hub and I'll refer some people here who would benefit from knowing about it. Nice job!

      • Daisy Mariposa profile image

        Daisy Mariposa 

        5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

        Mohan (Docmo),

        Thanks for publishing this very informative article. I was aware of the hypertension dangers associated with consuming licorice, but not the other dangers.

        As always, your research, writing, and presentation of the information is excellent.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 

        5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Wow, that was a useful and interesting hub. When I looked at the picture at the start of the hub itself, I got it! You took me to my childhood days when I used to chew on these. I had and still have no idea, why Mum had it in store in the kitchen shelf, need to ask her definitely. Was worth reading! Thank you for sharing, voted up, useful, interesting and sharing!

      • Missy Mac profile image

        Missy Mac 

        5 years ago from Illinois

        I was a licorice lover. I would eat all types and in my early 30's experienced serious symptoms mentioned in this article. Today, I avoid my favorite candy. I appreciate this article and will share. Thanks again.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Docmo....Excellent and very thorough information on licorice.....which I was just looking up a few days ago! I knew it was beneficial to minor stomach upset and I pulled out my trusty Natural Healing Encyclopedia to look it up. You just provided me with all the facts I could possibly need.

        I remember chewing on black licorice sticks as a kid and also "Black Jack Chewing Gum!!" That was popular in the early '60's....and it's still sold today.... Gosh, my sister and I would chew it and then stick it to our front teeth, so it would look like our teeth were missing...and we'd go smile real big at our parents and make them laugh sooo hard! The crazy things I remember now and then! LOL!!

        Thanks for the education, Doc!! Hugs to you!...Up++

      • Mazzy Bolero profile image

        Mazzy Bolero 

        5 years ago from the U.K.

        As kids in the UK, we used to chew on the roots and you could get liquorice ice lollies (popsicles) but most liquorice on sale nowadays is soft and full of sugar. I knew about the health benefits but not the bad side effects, though I guess you'd have to chew your way through a heck of a lot to suffer them. The sugar would probably get you before the liquorice did:) Thanks for such an informative hub.

      • mary615 profile image

        Mary Hyatt 

        5 years ago from Florida

        Another throughly researched Hub. Very interesting and informative. I never cared for the taste of liquorice myself, but I enjoyed reading your Hub. Well done.

        I voted it UP etc. will share, tweet and pin, too.

      • Alecia Murphy profile image

        Alecia Murphy 

        5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

        This is very interesting. I used to eat the candy version of licorice here in the states Twizzlers but once I got braces I pretty much laid off. Even though I haven't had braces in over six years I still haven't really gone back to it.

        This hub is good reason not to, I didn't know that it could be harmful to cancer survivors or women in general. Thanks for sharing this information!

      • jolinabetts profile image

        Sunshine Diaz 

        5 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

        I hope they ban Licorice :) i honestly don't like eating it. Thumbs up for interesting!

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        What a comprehensive hub on liquorice, Mohan. You do very well to point out the potential dangers of over consuming it.

        Voted up and awesome. Sharing it too.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        5 years ago from Germany

        I love liqourice. It sooths my stomach pain but don´t eat much as I know some of the danger. This hub is a very informative and useful hub. It is well written as always. Thanks, pinned and shared to my followers here in our community.

      • marcoujor profile image

        Maria Jordan 

        5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

        I despise dangerous candy... There should be a law!

        Thank you for the exposé... Let's have some chocolate right away...oh and some birthday cake!

      • Deborah Brooks profile image

        Deborah Brooks Langford 

        5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

        this is a great hub.. I had no idea..I don't eat Licorice at all.. I have never liked it.. now I know I will not..

        sharing

        debbie

      • nifwlseirff profile image

        Kymberly Fergusson 

        5 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

        I had never seen the warnings (Australia/Japan/Germany) - will keep an eye out for them in future! Although I love licorice, I can't imagine eating 2 or more bags in a day! A few pieces are enough for me!

        After yelling for 2 hours in a large lecture hall (the microphone was broken), I lost my voice. A couple of pieces of Dutch licorice restored it enough to lecture again later in the day.

      • mythbuster profile image

        mythbuster 

        6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

        Very nice hub. I learned some stuff here about licorice I wouldn't have thought to look up. Thanks for sharing.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        Thanks Jason, glad you found this useful.

      • Jason Marovich profile image

        Jason F Marovich 

        6 years ago from Detroit

        Wow, this is a very comprehensive guide covering the history and uses of licorice root. I appreciate the fact that you have separated proven medical uses for the root from cultural remedies, for safety's sake.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @Keri, thanks for your visit and appreciation!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @MummyDearest- thank you for your visit and comments!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @lorlie6- thank you so much for your appreciation and comment. Red licorice and Black apparently are not interchangeable- black licorice is the 'real' deal while red doesn't have the same warnings...

      • Keri Summers profile image

        Keri Summers 

        6 years ago from West of England

        This is a very thorough Hub, with so much depth. Up and awesome. I'd have voted up twice if I could have done!

      • MummyDearest profile image

        Eileen 

        6 years ago from Kildare, Ireland

        Clearly you've put a lot of work into this hub..thanks for sharing this information. I am not a big fan of licorice but when i get a sore throat, i will get the licorice tea from my local health food store.

        I never realised that there was a 'bad' side to it so thanks for educating me. Voted up!

      • lorlie6 profile image

        Laurel Rogers 

        6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

        I am thrilled that someone has taken the time to thoroughly 'investigate' the pros and cons of my very favorite treat! I'm certain that I am not the only one who found this article fascinating-and not only because it caught my eye as I perused the titles of your other hubs. Wow. Quite the writer, you are!

        Back to this hub...are red and black licorice chemically interchangable? My mother introduced me to the black 'version' back in the 60's, and to me, it is THE true item. Red? Never. Apples and oranges, I say! ;) Well Docmo, I do believe I'm babbling now, so let's leave it at that, shall we?

        Fabulous reading, thanx!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @drbj - thank you! Yes, apparently Napoleon's twin vices were snuff and licorice. ( I don't envy poor Joséphine when he 'French' kissed her) His cause of death was allegedly a stomach ulcer. Perhaps the licorice supply ran out during his exile, the poor thing.

      • drbj profile image

        drbj and sherry 

        6 years ago from south Florida

        Very thorough investigation of licorice, Docmo, with its many benefits and also potential risks. This black root has long been a favorite of holistic medicine practitioners and I have read claims from said sources that praise it to the skies. But as you pointed out, medical research has been sadly lacking so folks need to do their own research and use licorice sparsely. Voted all the way up!

        BTW, when I interviewed Napoleon ('Interview with Napoleon') he was chewing a black substance but I thought it was betel nuts. Who knew?

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @jojokaya - thank you!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @Shimmering - I know a lot of it was drunk ( Adhimadhuram) when I used to visit my cousins in Kerala as a child. Glad you found this informative.Thanks!

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @urmilashukla23- thanks for the visit and comments!Glad you enjoyed this.

      • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

        Mohan Kumar 

        6 years ago from UK

        @ Jaye Wisdom- thank you, thank you. I went straight to write the hub and then noticed you had also replied to the question on the same themes. Glad you find this informative - I hate writing semi-complete hubs as I obsess over how much info to put in! appreciate the comments.

      • jojokaya profile image

        jojokaya 

        6 years ago from USA

        Very good hub. I learn more about licorice

      • shimmering Dawn profile image

        shimmering Dawn 

        6 years ago

        This is the daily drink of the millions in Kerala.. this root is boiled in water along with other medicinal roots like nanari and this is the water they drink all day long.. This was so in my parents home too... Great reading this hub.. informative! Have a blessed day. Peace.

      • urmilashukla23 profile image

        Urmila 

        6 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

        Very well written about benefit and dangers of licorice. I enjoyed reading and found this informative and useful. So, Voted up!

      • JayeWisdom profile image

        Jaye Denman 

        6 years ago from Deep South, USA

        Docmo...I'm very impressed by your magnificently thorough hub about licorice! An alternate title could have been, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Licorice." I think you should win one of the contest prizes for answering a question with a hub. (Is anyone from the HP Team paying attention???)

        The extent of your research and the information provided are really quite amazing. Much of it is important from a health viewpoint, such as the potentially serious side effects of licorice and the table showing drugs that interact with licorice.

        Other aspects of this hub are fascinating, including the wealth of esoteric historical data. I was astonished to learn of Napolean's heavy consumption of licorice. Perhaps his over-indulgence began in childhood and affected his pituitary gland, which is why he was so short in stature. Is that a valid theory?

        With the authority vested in me by myself, I now dub you, Docmo: The Licorice Expert!

        Voted UP, USEFUL, AWESOME and INTERESTING.

        JAYE

        P.S. I like your current avatar.

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