Side Effects and Cautions
In large amounts, licorice containing glycyrrhizin can cause high blood pressure, salt and
water retention, and low potassium levels, which could lead to heart problems. DGL
products are thought to cause fewer side effects.
The safety of using licorice as a supplement for more than 4 to 6 weeks has not been
Taking licorice together with diuretics (water pills) or other medicines that reduce the
body's potassium levels could cause dangerously low potassium levels.
People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about using licorice.
When taken in large amounts, licorice can affect the body's levels of a hormone called
cortisol and related steroid drugs, such as prednisone.
Pregnant women should avoid using licorice as a supplement or consuming large amounts of
licorice as food, as some research suggests it could increase the risk of preterm labor.
Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use.
Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure
coordinated and safe care.