Doctor's Note

For more on health concerns during pregnancy, check out these videos:
Bacon, Eggs, and Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy
How Long to Detox From Fish Before Pregnancy?
Chamomile Tea May Not Be Safe During Pregnancy
The Wrong Way to Detox
Diet Soda and Preterm Birth

For further context, see my associated blog post: Soy milk: shake it up!

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • ksk63

    does this also include the tea that i love to drink if so I will stop.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      That is a great question. The only study I was able to find looked at a tea which included licorice root and concluded: “One cup of the herbal tea [“Smooth Move”] contains approximately 15 mg of glycyrrhizic acid, which is significantly below the level of concern for known side effects of licorice overdose.”

    • JJ

      I want to thank you for this question. One of the “teas” I like to drink is “Licorice Spice herbal tea”. The first ingredient in the brand I buy is “licorice root”. So, thanks for getting the answer.

      I will probably limit how much of this tea I drink and may not buy any new stuff, but at least I don’t have to throw out the boxes that I already have. (And it’s a relief not to feel bad about poisoning my guests when I have previously served it at my house.)

      • Helga_R

        Actually yea, it’s quite dangerous in a daily use. We have such warnings in Russian official medicine books.
        It’s quite useful for treating different disease but I strongly don’t recommend it for a daily use because of problem they could may cause for you renal system and salt balance.
        Use it from time to time for treating pulmonic problems (it’s really good in this).
        And also, for some reason, men whom I know, reported more side effects than women and more often reject this plant to use.


    What about deglycyrrhizinated licorice supplements for digestive health?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Please see below Betsy–thank you for your question!

  • Veguyan

    For digestive health after a big meal of tofu and rice, etc., I like to take 4 or more tablets of DGL. It’s made by enzymatic therapy. Two tablets is 760 mg of Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice. It also helps me sleep. Is this stuff okay?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      If it really is deglycyrrhizinated then it should be OK, but I don’t know how reliable the process is. If you’re able to get information from the company on any independent testing that’s been done please post it here.

      • Veguyan

        Apparently it has not been 3rd party tested, but the company stands behind their claim that it is deglycyrrhizinated.

        • Michael Greger M.D.

          That’s what companies tend to do!

  • Eric Needs

    Mgreger what is your profession?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I’m a physician: About Me. I’m going to have the system change my username from mgreger to my full name just so people don’t get confused, so thanks for your question!

  • Judd Conway

    How does one calculate the amount of licorice in items that are made of many ingredients.  For example, Panda licorice lists its ingredients as “molasses, wheat flour, licorice extract, Natural flavor (anise seed oil).  One official serving would appear to be about 35 grams.

  • Smilenstein

    Do fennel and anise seeds pose any risk? They have the same type of licorice flavor and I eat fennel seeds several times a week!

  • mikeysbro

    I didnt catch the amount of glycyrrhic acid that is at question nor if the whole herb was included in the licorice candys studied. In addition, it was mentioned that four cigars sticks of licorice candy was consumed, though what was the amount of glycyrrhic acid? i’ll have to look up safe levels in my herbal PDR and compare studies. If some are concerned, licorice comes with glycyrrhic acid removed. It can be bought as a supplement in wafers.

  • Georgiasfan

    I saw your licorice root in herbal teas comment, and have been drinking about 6 cups Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat every day for a dry throat related to the mountain air @ 6,000 feet. The nutrition info states 760 mg of organic licorice root. It sounds like way too much Glycyrrhiza acid to me. Are my days numbered?

    • TMR

      Yes ;-)

  • Sara

    Does liquorice in tea have some effects on blood pressure? I’ve heard that it helps when blood pressure is low.

  • Ziggyblues

    Is the 6g safe upper limit you mention per week or per day?

  • Just 2-ounces (60g) of licorice per day for 2 weeks can cause you to end up in the
    emergency room 1.

    Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine and herbalism for centuries for ailments such as asthma, sore throat, adrenal “burnout”, and heartburn. The root contains a compound known as glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid), which in large amounts has associated with high blood pressure, salt and water retention (edema), and may reduce potassium levels to dangerously low levels 2,3.

    However, deglycyrrhized licorice (DGL) appears to be safe and does not cause the side affects associated with licorice because the glycyrrhizic acid has been removed. DGL is commonly used to treat ulcers and heartburn.

    The EU (European Union) suggests that one should not consume more than 100mg of glycyrrhizic acid per day. This amount equates to roughly 50 g licorice sweets 4.