Licorice Root Tea: Benefits, How To Make & Side Effects
Licorice root tea has a wide range of health benefits such as detoxifying the body, soothing spasms, easing menstrual cramps, raising blood pressure, eliminating respiratory infections, reducing inflammation, treating stomach disorders, protecting the skin and strengthening the hair. There are also a few potential side effects of drinking this tea including drug interactions, high blood pressure, vitamin deficiencies, increased water retention, stomach distress, erectile dysfunction and higher risk of cancer. These side effects are mainly experienced when an excessive amount of licorice root tea is consumed, although allergic sensitivities can also be the cause of negative reactions.
Licorice root tea, as the name implies, is made by steeping the roots of the licorice plant, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra. Licorice root tea has been a popular tool in natural medicine for thousands of years, particularly in regions where this plant is native including Europe, Asia and India. The many health benefits of licorice root tea are due to the presence of unique organic compounds, including glycosides, flavonoids, anethole, coumarins, sterols and a number of other antioxidants, as well as certain minerals and vitamins. Due to the powerful and potent nature of the root and the risk of toxicity, no more than 3 cups of this tea should be consumed each day, which should be more than enough to enjoy the following health benefits.
Benefits of Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root tea is recommended for people suffering from low blood pressure, arthritis, gout, indigestion, colds, coughs, respiratory infections, painful menstruation, seizures, high toxicity levels, dry skin, premature aging, hair loss, dandruff and various other conditions.
Skin Health: In terms of skin health, licorice root tea can help to keep your skin moisturized when used as a topical application (cold tea), but can also improve the antioxidant levels in your body, helping to minimize signs of aging. Furthermore, licorice tea can help soothe inflammatory conditions like psoriasis or eczema, and even act as a natural sunscreen, helping to block UV rays that damage the skin.
Low Blood Pressure: If you suffer from hypotension, also known as low blood pressure, the stimulating nature of licorice root tea can elevate your blood pressure to normal levels, providing a boost to your energy levels and preventing dizziness and fatigue. However, if you suffer from high blood pressure, this tea can be a dangerous choice for your overall health.
Anti-Spasmodic Effects: By soothing the symptoms of seizure disorders and spasms of smooth muscle tissue in the body, licorice root tea can help to relieve heart palpitations, smooth digestive properties and ensure proper muscle function throughout the body.
Menstrual Cramps: Licorice root tea has been traditionally used to treat the symptoms of dysmenorrhea, also known as menstrual cramps, and also improve other symptoms of PMS, such as mood swings and hormonal fluctuations. However, when consumed in excess, this tea can have the opposite effects, so only drink this tea in moderation!
Hair Health: Known for its moisturizing qualities, this versatile tea can prevent dryness of the scalp and prevent dandruff, while also delivering rich antioxidants and minerals to the hair, strengthening the follicles and improving the appearance of your hair. This tea has also been praised for its ability to stop hair loss, both when consumed as a tea and when topically applied.
Immune System: Upper respiratory infections can be persistent and difficult to get over, but licorice root tea can quickly cut through the phlegm and mucus, soothing inflammation in the throat, and giving the immune system a boost to eliminate the underlying bacteria or pathogen. The antioxidants found in this tea are also integral to the body’s defenses against illness.
Diuretic Effect: By stimulating urination, licorice root tea can help detoxify the body. This has impressive effects on the liver. Urination eliminates excess salts, fats, toxins and water from the body, relieving strain on the kidneys and bladder. However, since this tea does have diuretic and laxative effects, drinking too much can cause dehydration and other negative side effects.
Anxiety and Depression: Commonly paired with St. John’s Wort, this herbal tea is often recommended for people suffering from anxiety and depression. The soothing flavor and stimulating activity of this tea can improve mood and rebalance stress hormone levels in the body.
How to Make Licorice Root Tea
You can make licorice root tea at home with dried licorice root, hot water and any natural sweetener, if desired. However, it is important to speak with your doctor before using this tea, as it can have a number of side effects and interactions with various medications or medical conditions. Dried licorice root can be purchased from any natural food store and is widely available around the world.
- 2 teaspoons of dried licorice root (chopped into 1-inch pieces)
- 8 ounces of water (filtered)
- 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar, if desired
Step 1 – Bring the water to a boil in a stainless steel pot.
Step 2 – Add the licorice root pieces to the water.
Step 3 – Remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep for 5-6 minutes.
Step 4 – Strain the mixture, removing the licorice roots.
Step 5 – Add honey or sugar for flavor, and enjoy!
Note: No more than 3 cups of licorice root tea should be consumed per day, in order to prevent unwanted side effects.
Side Effects of Licorice Root Tea
There are quite a few possible side effects when drinking licorice root tea in excess. Some types of licorice will contain a compound called glycyrrhizin, which can cause everything from headaches and fatigue to high blood pressure and heart attacks. These severe symptoms usually occur when a large amount of glycyrrhizin is consumed. Additionally, there are other risks that can affect certain groups of people depending on their medical history and present health conditions.
- Pregnancy – Licorice root should never be consumed when pregnant as the potentially toxic substances in licorice root can increase the risk of miscarriage by affecting hormone levels and stimulating menstruation. Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers should avoid use of this tea and children should also not be given this herbal remedy.
- Drug Interactions – A number of drug interactions have been reported by those using licorice root tea, including complications with antidepressants and blood pressure medications. In the former, your symptoms may worsen when combined with this herbal tea, while those using blood pressure medications may experience a build-up of potassium in the body, which can be dangerous. Women taking birth control or other oral contraceptives often experience high blood pressure when drinking this tea.
- Water Retention – One of the most common side effects of drinking a large amount of this tea is water retention, as this is an astringent substance. This can manifest as bloating or edema in the legs, torso or ankles, and can cause inflammation, pain and discomfort.
- Hormonal Issues – The hormones of both men and women can be affected by licorice root tea. In women, this can mean a higher risk of breast cancer and other estrogen-related conditions. In men, it can result in a drop in testosterone levels, infertility and erectile dysfunction.