For the few of you out there who enjoy black licorice, the Food & Drug Administration has a word of caution: “No matter what your age, don’t eat large amounts of black licorice at one time.”
The advice comes just ahead of Halloween is based on the candy’s glycyrrhizin content. That compound can cause your body’s potassium levels to fall, potentially leading to abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy and congestive heart failure.
People over 40 have an elevated risk and are warned that eating two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could put you in the hospital with irregular heart rhythms. The licorice can also interact with some medicines, herbs and dietary supplements.
The good news is potassium levels can typically be restored with no permanent damage — as long as you quit eating black licorice.