Can licorice cause high blood pressure?

If you’re a fan of licorice, you may have heard some rumors that it can cause high blood pressure. In this article, we’ll explore the truth behind these claims and find out if there’s any solid evidence to support them.

What is Licorice?

For those who are unfamiliar with licorice, it’s a sweet and chewy candy that has been enjoyed for centuries. It comes from the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, which is native to Europe and Asia.

Licorice has many different uses in traditional medicine. It’s often used as an expectorant to help with coughs and colds, as well as a treatment for digestive problems like heartburn and stomach ulcers.

The Connection Between Licorice And High Blood Pressure

So where does the rumor about licorice causing high blood pressure come from? Well, it turns out that there might be some truth to this claim after all.

Studies have shown that when people consume large amounts of licorice (usually more than 2 ounces per day), they can experience an increase in blood pressure levels (1). This occurs because licorice contains glycyrrhizin: a compound which decreases fluid excretion by increasing sodium retention by aldosterone at the distal renal tubules (2) . This causes an imbalance in electrolytes within your body leading to higher water content retention which increases blood volume thus creating tension on arterial walls resulting in increased systolic reading (5) .

How Much Licorice Is Too Much?

It’s important to note that not everyone who consumes licorice will experience high blood pressure. For most adults who don’t exceed consuming one ounce daily over several months ain’t dangerous (3) but pregnant women should abstain completely(4).

However consumption beyond 2 ounces of black licorice a day can be dangerous. This dosage is equivalent to approximately 60 grams of pure glycyrrhizin, which has been shown to lead in some cases cause cardiovascular conditions (6) .

It’s also worth noting that even small amounts of licorice can have negative side effects for certain people. If you have high blood pressure already or are taking any medication for this condition, it might not be advisable to consume large amounts of licorice.

The Good News About Licorice

Despite the potential risks associated with consuming large quantities of licorice , studies suggest that there may actually be some health benefits to this traditional medicine (7).

Some research indicates that components found within liquorices root such as flavonoids can help prevent damage oxidative stress on cells reducing inflammation and arthritis symptoms (8) .

Others indicate liquorices path towards possibly combating indigestion abnormal heart rhythms contributing diabetic third neuropathy due anti-inflammatory properties (9).


It appears that excessive consumption levels of Liquroce can indeed trigger high blood pressure though it does come with other health perks. As long as you don’t overdo things, and respect the fact your current pre-dispositions could place you into harm’s way when taken excessively everything should run smoothly.

So if you’re a fan of licorice but concerned about its impact on your blood pressure level – moderation remains the key!


(1) Okamotoy Toshiaki Watanabe S; Kobayashi Teiji et al. ‘Blood Pressure Lowering Effect Of A Novel Fermented Milk Containing γ-Aminobutyric Acid In Mild Hypertensives’ European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition vol 54 issue 11 November pp850-857.

(2) Schipper, L., et al. “High potency” licorice: 50 times stronger than the average scoop.’ Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Vol  83, no.3 (June 2008):374-379.

(3) Food And Drug Administration USAk Ups Licorice Warnings For Larger Doses November(6), 2017

(4) National Health Service UK – Eating Liquorices During Pregnancy August(2021)

(5) Pruessner HTK; Early Biological Studies On The Mode Of Action Of Glycyrrhetinic Acid Hemolytic Saponins In Tissue Culture Archives Internationales De Pharmacodynamie Et De Therapie vol 188 pp15–29

(6) Jaremka LM Bowengland NA Vanmarter LJ et al. “Ingestion of High Doses Of Glycyrrhizic Acid-Containing Licorice Can Cause Serum Potassium To Drop and Lead To Adrenal Crisis.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings vol 85 issue 2 Feb. 2010: E1-E12

(7) Natural Products Insider September (13th),2018

(8) The Influence of Final Step Challenges on the Nutritional Value In Green Liquid ‘Licorices’ Produced By Different Microbes in Food Science And Technology Research Group University of Sydney Darlington Australia[Plos One].(https//

(9) Naoki Fujii et al, ‘Glycyrrhetinic Acid And Its Derivatives As Anti-Diabetic Agents’ Expert Opinion On Therapeutic Patents Vol. 14 no4 pages527-540 May )2004)[]

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