Licorice tea is flavorful and sweet, but it's also a potential cause of high blood pressure. Because of the health risks associated with licorice root, consult your doctor before consuming it on a regular basis. If you have high blood pressure or are worried about developing high blood pressure, be particularly cautious about licorice tea.
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Licorice tea is available in individual bags and in loose form. You'll typically find it paired with other spices such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, orange peel and fennel seed. Other herbs that may be in licorice tea and also impact blood pressure are bitter orange, ginseng, guarana and St. John's Wort. Licorice not labeled as "DGL," for deglycyrrhizinated licorice, will contain the ingredient glycyrrhizin and give your tea a particularly sweet flavor. Glycyrrhizen is 50 times sweeter than sucrose.
If you have high blood pressure, you are not alone. One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. You may experience no symptoms while the high blood pressure is damaging your heart, blood vessels and kidneys. The institute recommends learning your blood pressure numbers, even when you feel fine. Your numbers will be measured as "systolic" and "diastolic." The systolic measurement is your blood pressure when your heart is beating. The diastolic measurement is your blood pressure between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 for systolic and less than 80 for diastolic.
Salt and Blood Pressure
Excess sodium intake is linked with high blood pressure. Most people lose sodium in their urine, but about 5 to 10 percent of people are unable to, according to North Caroline State University. The excess sodium causes the body to draw more water into the blood from body tissues, increasing blood volume. As a result, your heart works harder pumping the heavier blood and you get high blood pressure. People with this problem are known as "sodium sensitive." Consult your doctor if you experience fluid retention and bloating because it may have a medical cause. Some lifestyle changes might help relieve some symptoms. Cut down on sodium, increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink more water.
Licorice Tea and Blood Pressure
By drinking licorice tea in excess amounts, you risk high blood pressure, according to MedlinePlus. Licorice is linked with salt and water retention because it suppresses the hormone aldosterone, which is responsible for controlling sodium levels in the body. With 30 g or more of licorice consumed per day over a period of four weeks, you can raise your blood pressure. If you consume an excessive amount of salt, have kidney disease or heart disease, or if you have high blood pressure already, you can raise your blood pressure with just 5 g of licorice per day. If you are on a medication for high blood pressure, licorice will reduce its effectiveness.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Rosalind Franklin University: Glycyrrhizin
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: What Is High Blood Pressure?
- Mayo Clinic: Water Retention
- MedlinePlus: Licorice
- American Association of Kidney Patients: Why Does Salt Cause High Blood Pressure?
- NCSU; Diet/High Blood Pressure; Jacquelyn McClelland and Carolyn Lackey; 2005