Licorice has several beneficiary properties, although can be quite dangerous as well. High doses of licorice increase blood pressure a lot. The increased blood pressure and clotting risk can lead to strokes and other ill effects.
Licorice has many beneficiary properties. It is a highly effective cough medicine, and in this is present its very interesting historical use. Licorice also may have uses related to mouth and stomach ulcers. It also presents itself as a mild laxative. Licorice has also been noted to help with liver disease and reduce the risk of liver cancer; and increases T-Cell count and interferon production, boosting immune response to viruses such as hepatitis and influenza.
In Asian medicine, licorice root has been used for boils, dehydration, diarrhea, eye diseases, headache, sore throat, and swellings from infections. its effectiveness for these disorders has not been scientifically verified.
Licorice has been mentioned in 63 readings by Edgar Cayce. Cayce notes the benefits of Licorice on the intestinal tract, the liver, and the healing process in general; and describes (without medical training) how and why this works. Cayce also has recommended licorice to soothe minor cardiac arhythma problems.
It has also been said that licorice stimulates excess red blood cell production, which can have a similar effect to blood doping, where blood is drawn and then later re-injected to increase red blood cell count in the body. The blood doping procedure is a disqualifying infraction in most sports events for this reason; it is detected by checking for elevated red blood cell count.
Increased red blood cell count allows you to supply more oxygen to muscles, leading to efficient removal of waste carbon and thus mildly increased strength, muscular endurance, and stamina. Unfortunately, it also leads to increased platelets, which leads to increased blood clotting and risk of stroke.
Licorice has also been said to increase the general rate of healing.
Licorice has some unfortunate negative side effects. Large doses of licorice can lead to hypokalemia, a potentially fatal potassium deficiency, as well as severe increases in blood pressure. These dangerous side effects make highly concentrated licorice distillates extremely dangerous.
The PDR notes that dosages of more than 20 grams of Licorice Extract or 50 grams of licorice root daily for an extended period of time will lead to excessive loss of salt from the blood, water retention, high blood pressure, and heart irregularities, sometimes accompanied by fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps. It further recommends to limit use of Licorice preparations to 6 weeks, noting that the side effects disappear after the drug is discontinued.
The PDR also describes drug interactions. Licorice increases potassium loss associtaed with other drugs such as diuretics. This potassium loss ca cause increased sensitivity to the heart medication digitalis. Other heart drugs such as quinidine and procainamide can increase licorice-induced potassium loss, leading to a dangerously rapid heartbeat. Licorice may also increase the effects and unwanted side effects of steroid medications such as prednisone (Deltasone).
The PDR specifies quite directly to not take licorice when pregnant.
For those who enjoy licorice, a licorice tea can be a soothing and beneficial drink. A tea can be made by using 1-1.5g (1/2tsp) of licorice root. The root must be crushed, possibly utilizing a garlic press; and boiled in water. The root can be added to cold water and boiled, or be placed in a vessel and have boiling water poured over it. In either case, steep in the boiling water for 15 minutes; strain; and drink.
Based on the method given in the PDR.