Some products that contain licorice root and other ingredients may help relieve digestive symptoms. Because these are combination products, the role of licorice in their effects is uncertain.
There’s some evidence that topical gels containing licorice root might be helpful for atopic dermatitis symptoms. Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is a chronic disease in which skin becomes irritated, inflamed, and itchy.
A small number of studies suggest that using a licorice gargle or lozenges before surgery might help to prevent or lessen the severity of the sore throat that often occurs after surgery.
Side Effects Of Licorice Root
Although licorice root is generally considered safe as a food ingredient, it can cause serious side effects, including increased blood pressure and decreased potassium levels, when consumed in large amounts or for long periods of time. Because the composition of licorice products varies, it isn’t possible to definitely say that a particular level of intake is safe or unsafe. The effects of licorice on potassium and blood pressure are a particular concern for people with hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart or kidney disease.
Some side effects of licorice are believed to be caused by a component called glycyrrhizic acid. Licorice that has had this substance removed (called DGL for deglycyrrhizinated licorice) may not have the same degree of side effects.
Heavy consumption of licorice during pregnancy has been associated with premature birth and health problems in the child. Little is known about whether it’s safe to use licorice root while breastfeeding.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.