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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names:

Generic Name: licorice (Pronunciation: LIH koe rish)

What is licorice ()?

The use of licorice in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Licorice is also known as liquorice, American licorice, Spanish licorice, Russian licorice, sweet root, and Glycyrrhiza glabra.

Licorice is a commonly used flavoring agent and food product. Licorice is also available as an herbal supplement. The information contained in this leaflet refers to the use of licorice as an herbal supplement. When used as a food product, the benefits and potential side effects of licorice may be less pronounced than when it is used as an herbal supplement.

Licorice has been used to loosen congestion that may occur due to a cough or cold, and to treat and prevent inflammation and/or ulceration of the stomach. Licorice has been used topically to suppress the production of oil on the scalp.

Licorice has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of licorice may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Licorice may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What are the possible side effects of licorice ()?

Although uncommon, allergic reactions to licorice have been reported. Stop taking licorice and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about licorice ()?

Licorice is a commonly used flavoring agent and food product. Licorice is also available as an herbal supplement. The information contained in this leaflet refers to the use of licorice as an herbal supplement. When used as a food product, the benefits and potential side effects of licorice may be less pronounced than when it is used as an herbal supplement.

Do not take more of this medication than is directed. Too much licorice could be dangerous. Also, do not take licorice for longer than 6 weeks. The use of licorice at high doses (over 50 g per day) and/or for longer than 6 weeks may cause low blood levels of potassium, high blood levels of sodium, water retention, increased blood pressure, heart problems, and blood problems.

Licorice has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of licorice may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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