Licorice is a sweet, bitter, and salty snack that many people enjoy. But, does it make you poop? I’ve done my research and here’s what I found.
Licorice root may aid digestion and help to promote regular bowel movements because of its anti-inflammatory properties. That said, it is important not to consume black licorice in excess or with other stimulant laxatives, as this can result in diarrhea and other adverse side effects.
Keep reading to learn more about the laxative effect of black licorice, as well as how much to eat to prevent any adverse side effects, plus some interesting health benefits!
Is Black Licorice a Natural Laxative?
According to Livestrong, licorice root extract is used in alternative medicine to produce a laxative effect. However, it is important to note that eating black licorice with stimulant laxatives can result in potassium loss, which can be dangerous to your health.
If you do eat licorice in moderation, this may result in a trip to the bathroom with a healthy bowel movement. However, if eaten in excess, you may have some bigger health problems on your plate.
Concerned about these health problems? Then keep reading to find out how you can prevent them!
How Can You Prevent Black Licorice Adverse Effects?
If you are a fan of black licorice, it is really important that you eat this candy in moderation. The FDA has offered the following advice when eating black licorice:
- No matter what age you are, never eat large quantities of black licorice in one sitting.
- If you have eaten a significant quantity of black licorice and you experience irregular heart rhythms or a feeling of muscle weakness, then stop eating it straight away and contact a doctor.
- Black licorice is known to interact with certain medications, herbs, and dietary supplements. This is why it is important to first speak to a healthcare professional before eating black licorice if you are on any medications.
Keep reading to learn how much black licorice you can safely consume without putting yourself in any danger!
How Much Licorice Is Safe To Consume?
No matter your age or health, it is always advisable to avoid consuming large quantities of black licorice within a short space of time. This is because black licorice, when consumed in excess, can actually result in heart problems, amongst other dangers.
According to the FDA, people over the age of 40 should be particularly careful not to exceed more than two ounces per day or about four small pieces. In fact, eating two ounces per day for two weeks may even land you in the hospital.
This is due to the glycyrrhizin found in black licorice, which is a compound that comes from the root of the licorice. It is known to make your body’s potassium levels fall, which can result in some dangerous side effects.
“In 2017, the FDA issued advisement, warning consumers that adults over 40 who eat 2 ounces of natural black licorice per day for at least two weeks could end up in the hospital with cardiac arrhythmia and other serious symptoms.”The FDA (Food & Drug Administration).
5 Additional Side Effects of Black Licorice
1. Increases Blood Aldosterone Levels
According to WebMD, consuming an excess of 20 grams (0.7 ounces) per day may increase your blood aldosterone levels. Aldosterone helps to regulate the sodium and potassium levels in your body, and this helps to balance fluids and electrolytes in the blood.
Additionally, licorice can mimic the physiological effects of this hormone, which can result in the increased secretion of potassium in your urine. This can result in hypokalemia or low blood potassium. This can cause high blood pressure and water retention, which can aggravate conditions such as hypertension.
2. Heart Disease
According to WebMD, since licorice prompts the body to store water, this can result in congestive heart failure. It can also result in an irregular heartbeat. It is therefore advisable to avoid licorice altogether if you have heart disease or heart issues.
Hypertonia is a muscle condition that is caused by problems with the nerves. Since licorice causes a drop in potassium levels in the blood, this can worsen hypertonia, according to WebMD.
This is why it is best to avoid licorice if you suffer from hypertonia.
4. Sexual Problems in Men
Licorice may lower a man’s interest in sex and even worsen erectile dysfunction. This is because is lowers levels of testosterone. If you do suffer from sexual problems as a man, it may be a good idea to give the licorice a miss.
5. Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
According to WebMD, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid consuming licorice altogether. The consumption of licorice during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of early delivery. This could even result in a miscarriage.
In terms of breastfeeding, there is still limited information regarding the safety of taking licorice when breastfeeding. To be safe, it is advisable to rather avoid it until you are no longer breastfeeding.
10 Health Benefits of Black Licorice
While licorice does have its downsides, it does have certain benefits when consumed in moderation and under the right circumstances. With that being said, here are some of the main benefits:
1. Licorice Helps The Stomach
According to WebMD, licorice can be used to help treat stomach ulcers and ongoing inflammation of the stomach.
One study using mice discovered that licorice extract doses of 91 mg per pound of bodyweight protected against these ulcers better than a common ulcer medication known as omeprazole.
There is still more research that needs to be conducted with humans. However, one 2-week study with 120 adults showed that eating licorice significantly decreased harmful bacteria that attack the stomach lining.
2. Licorice Helps The Skin
For those who suffer from serious skin problems, you may want to consider including a little extra licorice into your diet! According to Healthline, many topical gels on the market include licorice for the treatment of eczema. This is due to its antibacterial properties
3. Licorice Helps The Hair
According to Naturalremedyideas.com, licorice can be an essential method for combating hair loss. Licorice root helps o open up the p[ores of the scalp, which helps to reduce redness and irritation that may be causing hair loss.
If you suffer from hair loss, then simply create a paste of licorice root powder, milk, and saffron. Simply leave it on your scalp overnight!
4. Licorice Helps The Kidneys
If you already suffer from kidney problems, then this does not apply to you. In fact, you should avoid licorice! However, for the rest of us, licorice can be beneficial.
According to Licoricetea.org, licorice increases the production of estrogen in our bodies, which can be beneficial for the functioning of our kidneys. This is because higher levels of estrogen are associated with the optimal functioning of the kidneys.
5. Licorice Helps The Joints
If you suffer from joint pain, then you may want to pick up some licorice! According to Organicauthority.com, licorice is known to reduce inflammation. It supports the body’s natural release of cortisol, which suppresses the immune system and ease pain and arthritis flare-ups.
6. Licorice Helps The Chest
Licorice may also be helpful in combatting colds and minor respiratory infections. It does this by helping to produce more healthy mucus.
According to Healthline.com, an increase in clean, healthy phlegm helps to keep the respiratory system functioning at its best without old, sticky mucus clogging it up and causing problems.
7. Licorice Helps The Throat And Mouth
According to Livestrong.com, licorice can help to relieve symptoms of a sore throat, including fighting off infections and canker sores. Simply gargling with a solution of licorice root powder with some clean water can help relieve the discomfort of a sort throat.
You can also dab some licorice powder on your canker sore to relieve the pain and shorten the healing period.
8. Licorice Helps The Intestines And Bladder
According to Livestrong.com, licorice can also help your digestive system by relieving indigestion symptoms and helping with gastro-esophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. You can use it in conjunction with some peppermint and chamomile for the best results.
9. Licorice Helps The Ovaries
Licorice may be helpful for women who suffer from ovarian cysts. According to Organicfacts.net, licorice tea in particular may help to treat fertility problems in women as a result of hormonal irregularities. It helps by promoting regular menstruation and hormones.
10. Licorice Helps The Prostate
According to Chatelaine.com, licorice may be effective in combatting prostate cancer as it inhibits the formation of cancer cells and kills them. And according to WebMD, it is particularly used for fighting against cancer of the prostate.