Monday, October 31, 2011

Medical Mondays: Licorice Ick!

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to talk about candy. Of course too much candy isn't good for you, but can it actually land you in the hospital?

Licorice can.

Licorice come from the root of the plant
Glycyrrhiza glabra. It's been used for centuries as a flavoring, sweetener, and medicine.

Though anise and fennel taste like licorice, they are unrelated.

The main compound responsible for licorice's distinct flavor and pharmaceutical effects is
glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin is 50 times as sweet as table sugar. Besides being used in drinks, teas and candies, licorice is also added to tobacco products.

Licorice root extract has been studied in the use of a wide variety of illnesses, including:
  • viral hepatitis
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • stomach and mouth ulcers
  • bowel conditions, such s Crohn's disease and irritable bowel
However, excessive glycyrrhizic acid has been shown to cause problems, such as:
  • water retention and swelling
  • low potassium levels
  • heart failure
  • elevated blood pressures
So how much is safe? Apparently, the safe daily amount of licorice is 50 grams a day. That's 12 licorice jellybeans. Not much, right?

Apparently,
a British woman had to be hospitalized for licorice poisoning after consuming 200 grams of candy per day. That's a 48 black jellybean-per-day habit! Man. I knew there was a reason why I avoided those black jellybeans. And it's not all about those gunky black teeth either.

Happy Halloween everyone. Hope it doesn't land you in the hospital!


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58 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I've never been a fan, thank goodness.

Laura Pauling said...

Man, I never eat the black jelly beans! :)

Andrea Mack said...

Ugh, I really dislike the licorice flavour. Maybe I'll use it to poison a book character one day -- that seems like a good use for it!

Suze said...

Honestly, I never would have guessed.

I'm really like the new skin, this morning, Lyd. Nice look.

Happy Hallowe'en, my dear!

Em-Musing said...

I eat licorice when I do road trips to keep me happy and awake. But it has to be the real stuff, not Twizzlers.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad I don't each much licorice. That was a good choice for Halloween.

DL Hammons said...

Black licorice gives me the heebies jeebies! UGH!

Anne Gallagher said...

Wow, I have so got to tell my mother this. She LOVES black licorice! Thanks Lydia.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thank goodness I never liked black licorice. That was my sister's thing. I'll stick with the candy corns. ;o)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It only takes twelve? That's not many!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I hate black licorice. Yuck!!!! Too bad the good benefits don't count for Twizzlers. (They don't, right?).

Joshua said...

I don't mind a bit of fennel or anise, but it can't be overdone. I had licorice root tea once, and never again.

vbtremper said...

What a great, timely post! Nicely done. I didn't realize that licorice, anise, and fennel weren't related. How can they have such similar flavors?

-Vicki

Ashley said...

Good to know! Love to figure out a way to use this new found knowledge...

julie fedderson said...

Love the "licorice can kill" theme. I have all sorts of stories about demented candy makers in mind now. . .

Creepy Query Girl said...

Woah, that lady really liked her licorice! I've never been a big fan of black licorice and I guess that's a good thing! happy Halloween!

Little Ms. Fun said...

I'm glad that I've never liked Licorace. Now if Reese's Peanut Buttercups have a such a horrible side effect then I'd be in trouble...

Happy Halloween!

Emy Shin said...

Oh yikes! I'm glad I never eat licorie jellybeans, because once I start eating, I don't think I'd be able to stop at 12.

salarsenッ said...

For the first time, I knew about one of her highlighted remedies. lol

I feel so educated, all of a sudden.

Happy Halloween!

Meredith said...

Ugh, I can't stand licorice--thank goodness, apparently! How strange that you can get licorice poisoning!

Deb Salisbury said...

LOL! I love licorice. But I'm avoiding sugar, so haven't eaten it in ages.

Emily Rose said...

Whoa, this is crazy stuff! No way am I eating the black jelly beans!

Karen Lange said...

Interesting stuff! I had heard about its medicinal properties but never gave it much thought. I'm more of a red licorice kind of gal anyway. :)
Thanks for the info!

Linda Gray said...

Fascinating! I remember Gripe Water for colic in babies from when we lived in England many years ago. Licorice-based. A little goes a long way, I guess, but it did seem to work. Scary.

Munk said...

One day I ate so much licorice I was actually able to pronounce the name: "Glycyrrhiza glabra".

Jonene Ficklin said...

Holy Moly, now that's wild. I couldn't stand black licorice until my last pregnancy, when I craved it like crazy - and now I like it. Thanks for the warning.

LTM said...

I swear, Dr. K, you always come out with the most unexpected posts! And I LOVE them!!! :D *snort*

who knew those pesky black jellybeans were so potent. I can't stand them myself...

Happy Halloween!!! :o) <3

lbdiamond said...

Wow, I had no idea you could overdose on black licorice jelly beans! Good thing I don't like them, LOL!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Wow. It's a good thing I hate black licorice. Is it the same for the red kind?

Old Kitty said...

I LOVE BLACK LIQUORICE!!! But I don't think I've ever eaten so much in a day - phew - just as well. Thank you lovely Lydia for the info!! Definitely a new ond for me!!

The thing is I find one or two are quite potent so how anyone can eat more than two at the most...! Yikes!

Take care
x

Lydia Kang said...

Hey Ghenet,
No it's only the black ones that specifically contain licorice root extract. No worry with those red Twizzlers!

E.R. King said...

I love licorice. The blacker the better. Oh, and raspberry flavored is good too. I like that it's good for me!

Sarah said...

Holy crap! I knew those black jellybeans were evil!

Lorelei said...

I love licorice, but not if it has the corn syrup in it. Candy used to taste much better when I was a youngster.

Krispy said...

No idea licorice was so dangerous. Good thing I don't like black licorice at all. Tried it once and was baffled by how popular it was. The only licorice I like is Red Vines. :P

Happy Halloween!

Cold As Heaven said...

I'll warn the kids when I give them candy tonight >:)

Cold As Heaven

Liza said...

I like black licorice, but not in volume...a taste here or there does me fine...and it appears that is a good thing.

Southpaw said...

I never liked licorice and now I can say "Yes, it really will kill me!"

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LD Masterson said...

I'm safe. I like my candy brown, not black (as in chocolate).

Olga said...

Who would have thought that candy can be so tricky?

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

I'll be okay to stuff my face then, I hate licorice! Great how you mixed a medical fact in with Halloween. Have a good one!

Connie Keller said...

Wow! Licorice is dangerous. A "treat" for a lot of people in the Netherlands is salted black licorice. Hmm. I only ever have a piece or two at a time, but some people wolf them down. I wonder how many Dutch hospitals see cases of licorice poisoning.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Glad I don't like licorice.

Life Unordinary said...

Lydia, Thanks for sharing. I've actually used a licorice based night cream at one time - supposed to have had skin clarifying properties. Any insight?

Arlee Bird said...

I do like licorice a lot, but I don't eat as much as I used to. Why didn't I end up in the hospital when I was a kid? I used to eat tons of the stuff. I have heard about the medicinal properties.


Lee
Tossing It Out
Please see my guest post at:
So You Want to be a Writer?

cherie said...

Wow. I was never a fan and so now I have more reason to stay away from it. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Wow! Who knew? Great post, Lydia! :)

Susan Fields said...

That is so interesting! I actually love black jelly beans, those and the red ones are the only ones I eat. I once bought a bag of black-only jelly beans, but that got to be too much for me real fast. Sounds like it was a good thing!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for the info. I had read about licorice in Dahl's books and then in Rowlings.

Chris Phillips said...

I couldn't even eat one black jelly bean.

Carol Riggs said...

Ew, black licorice is nasty anyway. No big loss! Wow, good to know, though. Potent stuff!

Laila Knight said...

I like strawberry licorice. However, you have now scared me away from all licorice altogether. Oh well, if any type of sweet is going to put me in the hospital it might as well be chocolate. Hope you had a Happy Halloween, Lydia. :)

Jennifer Hillier said...

Well, I'm safe, since I do not like the taste of licorice myself. But licorice poisoning? Who knew?

Michelle Teacress said...

The black jelly beans are my favorite, but after reading about this here, and in the news last weekend, I think I'll back off. Haha!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I've always hated those black jellybeans. I gave them to the ghost of H P Lovecraft to give to the Old Ones. Next to munching human beings, Old Ones like black jelly beans the best! Who knew?

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Now I know why I've never liked black licorice. Great post! Who knew?

fleurblack said...

I nearly killed myself with chewing the root sticks and I'm sure that its liquorice that is the culprit in so much obesity as it is used as a sweetener and flavouring in many popular foods.

 
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