Q. I read in a women’s magazine that natural licorice candy can help in lowering blood glucose levels. I am 37 and considered pre-diabetic. I am not overweight.
Have you heard of this use of licorice? How much licorice is safe to consume? Can it interfere with any medications?
A. We were surprised to discover that licorice extract can indeed help control blood sugar in diabetic rats (Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Feb. 2011). Licorice candy, with its added sugar, would presumably be counterproductive.
Long-term use of licorice can lead to fluid retention, increased blood pressure, loss of potassium and lowered libido. It can interact with numerous drugs, especially heart medicine like digoxin or diuretics like furosemide.
We would discourage your use of licorice for treating pre-diabetes since we don’t have dosing information for humans.