Licorice causes high blood pressure

Licorice, licorice root, salmiac lozenges and high blood pressure

Licorice root extracts are popular delicacies, especially as liquorice or salmiak lozenges. But liquorice is also added to many teas as a sweetening flavor.
The glycyrrhizin (a mixture of potassium and calcium salts of glycyrrhizic acid) contained in liquorice is primarily responsible for the typical sweet taste of liquorice. This glycoside has a sweetening power 50 times stronger than cane sugar.

But liquorice is not only valued for its taste. The ingredients have an expectorant and liquefying effect, promoting expectoration and thus beneficial for infections of the upper respiratory tract. Licorice root is also helpful for stomach problems thanks to its antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory effect.

Beware of high blood pressure!

However, people who suffer from high blood pressure should be careful as excessive indulgence further increases blood pressure. The ingredients in licorice root can also affect the body's own hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. This impairs the regulation of the body's water-electrolyte balance and high or regular consumption of products that contain liquorice can lead to a high loss of potassium. Sodium and water, however, are retained in the kidney. This effect, in turn, increases blood pressure. This is exacerbated when diuretics - that is, dehydrating drugs that are usually more common as "water tablets" - are taken.

Since excessive consumption can also be fatal for healthy people, according to an EU regulation, foods with a certain glycyrrhizin content must carry a warning. This states that it contains liquorice and that excessive consumption should be avoided if the blood pressure is high. Unfortunately, when a critical dose is reached - especially for people suffering from hypertension - it cannot be said with certainty. You can read from a tea manufacturer that 2.5 g of liquorice root are seen as uncritical every day. At the same time, however, hypertensive patients are advised not to drink tea with liquorice every day. We therefore advise you to find out from your doctor or pharmacy whether and how much liquorice, tea with liquorice and the like are considered acceptable in your individual case. If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to do without it.

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All content has been checked medically and is revised several times a year. Last update from Sabine Croci(10/2020).