Not only does black licorice taste terrible, but now there’s a warning that too much of it can cause heart problems. Apparently over-indulging can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, edema, lethargy and congestive heart failure.
According to the US Drug and Food Administration two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks straight is considered too much. This warning applies primarily to licorice-lovers 40 and over. The warning applies to the real stuff, not just the anise-oil flavoured candy your kids might have gotten for Halloween. Black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root, and glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall.
The FDA recommends the following:
- No matter what your age, don’t eat large amounts of black licorice at one time.
- If you have been eating a lot of black licorice and have an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, stop eating it immediately and contact your health care provider.
- Black licorice can interact with some medications, herbs and dietary supplements. Consult a health care professional if you have questions about possible interactions with a drug or supplement you take.
- If you’ve experienced any problems after eating licorice, contact the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in your area.