The FDA has a warning for anyone whose Halloween trick-or-treat bag is brimming with black licorice. According to the agency, eating too much black licorice, about two ounces a day, can disrupt heart rhythms. The risk is especially high for people over 40, but even youngsters should not be allowed to binge on licorice.
What’s Wrong with Black Licorice?
The problem is that licorice extract used to flavor the candy can reduce potassium in the body. Low potassium could potentially lead to edema, lethargy and high blood pressure as well as irregular heartbeats.
Not all licorice candy contains actual licorice extract; some is flavored with anise. However, it is hard for consumers to determine whether their candy has real licorice extract, so moderation is prudent.
Be Aware of Licorice in Tea:
Consumers of herbal tea should also exercise moderation. Some teas contain licorice extract either as a flavoring agent or as a botanical medicine. At the appropriate dose, licorice has benefits, but overdosing on this herb can be dangerous.