Licorice tea is used for many potential health problems. Licorice stimulates your adrenal glands, soothes your digestive system from indigestion, lowers the amount of acid in your stomach, eases symptoms of ulcers and reduces symptoms of external allergies, hay fever and asthma. However, none of the benefits of licorice tea is sufficiently supported by research, says the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Also, licorice tea is an herbal tea that you should limit, as it can cause a number of side effects.
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Make a tea from 1 g to 5 g of dried licorice root and take it three times per day, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. To make the tea, slice pieces of the root and cut them into small pieces. Use 2 tbsp. of root per one cup of water. Boil the water and root in a saucepan and reduce the heat and simmer it for one hour. Strain the tea from the root and drink it. You can make extra and refrigerate it so you don’t have to go through the boiling process each time.
Do not give an infant or toddler licorice tea. However, an older child can have some to ease a sore throat, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The UMMC explains that you need to base a child’s dosage on his weight. Since a normal adult dose is for a 150 lb. adult, decrease the dosage for the amount the child weighs. For example, a 50 lb. child would take one third of the adult dosage. In this example, since an adult would take 1 g to 5 g of licorice root, a 50 lb. child would take 1/3 g to 1 2/3 g. Talk to your doctor or a pharmacist if you’re unsure how much to give, and do not give it to your child for more than one day, unless your doctor approves.
Do not take more than the recommended doses of licorice tea, as it can lead to side effects, although they can also occur from normal doses. The UMMC says that you should not take licorice root tea for longer than one week. The NCCAM explains that research has not effectively studied the use of licorice for more than four weeks.
Licorice tea can cause numerous side effects. High doses of licorice with its natural ingredient glycyrrhizin can cause edema, fatigue headaches, heartburn or heart problems. Large doses can affect your body’s production of the cortisol hormone and can result in muscle pain or numbness. You should not take licorice tea if you have heart or thyroid conditions, hypertension, kidney or liver diseases, diabetes, water retention or if you are pregnant or nursing. Talk to your doctor before taking it if you are on medications, as it can interact with some of them. You can obtain licorice with the glycyrrhizin taken out, which seems to have fewer side effects.
- "20,000 Secrets of Tea"; Victoria Zak; 1999
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Licorice
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Licorice Root