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Licorice Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings



  • Licorice is contraindicated for people with potassium problems.
    - Physician's Desk Reference

  • Licorice may increase the risk of bleeding or potentiate the effects of warfarin therapy.
    - Am J Health Syst Pharm 2000 Jul 1;57(13):1221-7; quiz 1228-30 -- Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. -- Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL.

  • Case of a 61-year-old man who was admitted to hospital because of severe hypokalemia, rhabdomyolysis and high blood pressure. Severe hypokalemia may lead to rhabdomyolysis. The plasma aldosterone concentrations were low and the plasma renin activity was suppressed. A diagnosis of apparent mineralocorticoid excess, attributable to licorice and grapefruit juice ingestion, was made. Glycyrrhizic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid, its hydrolytic product, in licorice extracts, and polyphenols, in grapefruit juice, can inhibit 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2, the enzyme that converts cortisol to cortisone.
    - Ann Ital Med Int 2002 Apr-Jun;17(2):126-9 -- Rhabdomyolysis and arterial hypertension caused by apparent excess of mineralocorticoids: a case report -- Sardi A, Geda C, Nerici L, Bertello P.

  • Heavy licorice (glycyrrhizin) consumption has been associated with shorter gestation. Heavy glycyrrhizin exposure was associated with preterm delivery and may be a novel marker of this condition.
    - Am J Epidemiol 2002 Nov 1;156(9):803-5 -- Preterm Birth and Licorice Consumption during Pregnancy. -- Strandberg TE, Andersson S, Jarvenpaa AL, McKeigue PM.

  • Licorice may interfere with either digoxin pharmacodynamically or with digoxin monitoring.
    - Arch Intern Med 1998 Nov 9;158(20):2200-11 -- Herbal medicinals: selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions. -- Miller LG.

  • Licorice can offset the pharmacological effect of spironolactone.
    - Arch Intern Med 1998 Nov 9;158(20):2200-11 -- Herbal medicinals: selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions. -- Miller LG.

  • Licorice is not to be used by people with high blood pressure or kidney failure or who are taking digitalis unless directed to do so by their physician.
    - Murray, M. -- The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines: Vitamins, Minerals, Nutritional Supplements, Herbs, and Other Natural Products. -- Bantam, 2002. 735.








last update: February 2014



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