Licorice, a popular medicinal plant, is hazardous to health in large quantities. It is found in a number of cough suppressants and herbal preparations.
Doctors linked the death of a builder in the US state of Massachusetts to the fact that he ate a lot of licorice. About this clinical case they told at New England Journal of Medicine… The man ate at least a pack of liquorice sweets every day.
Licorice or licorice candies – confectionery products that contain licorice extract naked (Glycyrrhiza glabra). This is a well-known medicinal plant that is part of a number of syrups and herbal preparations for coughing.
A 54-year-old man was admitted to hospital with sudden cardiac arrest. This happened on a working day, during lunchtime. In the hospital, the doctors were able to “get” his heart, but the patient developed multiple organ failure (several organs failed), in particular, the kidneys stopped working. He died 32 hours later after symptom onset.
The patient’s family members told doctors that he had no previous heart or kidney problems and that his chronic illness could not explain what had happened. The man ate poorly, preferring sweets. Three weeks before this incident, he switched from fruit jelly to licorice, eating one or two packs a day. This is what, according to doctors, could cause severe disorders in the body.
Why licorice is dangerous
Even a small amount of licorice can lead to a slight increase in blood pressure, scientists point out. The substance that is responsible for this and some other dangerous effects is glycyrrhizic acid. It is abundant not only in licorice, but also in other confectionery and licorice extracts. This acid can lower blood potassium levels and generally disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the body, which increases the risk of cardiac arrest.
Eating just 50 grams of licorice a day for three weeks can lead to dangerous arrhythmias, especially in people over the age of 40. reports US Food and Drug Administration.