Black Licorice- Health Benefits, Side effects of Black Licorice
Black Licorice is derived from a Latin word, liquirtia. This is known for its sweetening character. Chinese herbalists ranked licorice as superior, because it can be used for long duration without ant toxic effects. Chinese have been using this from past 5,000 years. Its roots have excellent therapeutic property. It is called sweet root by Hippocrates. It is 50-100 times sweeter than the table sugar.
Greeks used black licorice as a thirst quencher and also to get relief from swelling that is caused by water retention.
Black licorice Health Benefits:
Anti inflammatory property:
This acts on the tissues, similar to cortisone but, has no side effects.
It has anti allergic properties which are essential for treating respiratory disorders.
This is more effective than the antacids. Herbalists and natural healers believe that this herb avoids stomach ulcers. Herbalists say that people who consume licorice for 2-4 months, before meals heal the existing ulcers. According to some studies, 91% success is observed in the treatment of stomach ulcer. This herb also acts as a stomach lining and protects it.
Licorice helps in controlling weight because it maintains the stomach acid levels.
When black licorice is boiled into tonic, it is capable of fighting fevers which are caused by infections and colds.
Recent studies proved that licorice slows down the progress of HIV to fatal AIDS.
Other Health Benefits of Black Licorice
Control sore throat and respiratory problems
It loosen the thin mucus in respiratory canal and eases congestion. It also relieves bronchial spasms. It fights against virus causing respiratory problems.
Black licorice has properties to combat hepatitis as it protects the liver and provides protection against liver inflammation.
Menstrual Problems and PMS
The herb has a mild estrogenic effects and makes it useful in curing symptoms of PMS, such as bloating, irritability and breast tenderness.
Heart disease prevention
Licorice discourages artery clogging and contributes to healthy heart function.
Lessens symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
Licorice enhances cortisol activity. It has glycyrrhizin which helps to increase energy and reduces stress.
Side effects of Black Licorice:
Products prepared from real licorice can cause side effects. These may be serious too. The following are some serious side effects of black licorice.
- High blood pressure
- Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), that includes
- Rapid weight gain
- Water retention
- difficulty in breathing
- swelling in hands and feet
- Low blood potassium
- Severe muscle pain
- irregular breast rhythm
- Signs of hormonal changes, like
- low sex drive
- missed periods
- impotence in men
- Allergic reaction symptoms, such as
- swelling in throat or mouth
- difficulty in breathing
- Muscle weakness
Most serious problems of black licorice are caused by one particular component, called as glycyrrhizin. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice products may not cause serious side effects because these do not have glycyrrhizin component.
Properties of Black Licorice
Following are some of the properties of Black Licorice –
- Estrogenic (mild)
- Pectoral (moderate)
Uses of Licorice:
- This herb is used for flavoring candies. Also, it is a flavoring agent in laxatives, tonics, syrups and cough drops.
- Licorice flavors some kinds of frozen dairy desserts, beer, puddings, meat products and gelatins. It can also be chewed as a special treat.
- Currently, researchers are investigating about its ability to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.
- Black licorice should be taken with caution as it is not recommended for high blood pressure patients or people with kidney and liver problems.
- It is also not recommended for nursing mothers or pregnant women. If it is consumed daily, it should not be taken for more than 4 to 6 weeks.
- If taken in large amounts, it can affect the hormonal levels in the body.
- Licorice must not be taken with diuretics or other medications which reduce potassium levels in body and can result in lower levels of potassium.