Liquorice shock!

I had no idea that liquorice was toxic and can cause arrhythmias and AF.

I bought 200 gms from the old fashioned sweet shop on Thursday and ate them (with help) over the next 2 days. I felt awful yesterday and still not 100% today.

The back of my thighs felt none existent,very weak; I was breathless had severe headaches and felt quite bad. Took my BP - it was 185/60, pulse 50. Being post (second ) ablation I thought it might be related.

Research on the connection between liquorice and BP found that it is toxic stuff and if eaten in larger amounts it can give all of the symptoms and more that I had.

Definitely no more Bertie Bassets for me!

23 Replies

  • None for me either, been there too - No ablation as yet.

  • Gulp .... as I read this I am wiping residual licorice from my hands after having just consumed more than a few licorice allsorts.

    I will be alert but not alarmed!

  • Eating large amounts of liquorice is known to raise blood pressure and I've seen warnings on packets advising people not to eat large amounts. It's a pity because I love it. It would be interesting to know if the relatively high consumption of liquorice in the Netherlands has any subsequent health effects.

  • Can't say I have ever had a problem with it. Can't imagine commercial liquourice sees much liquorice plant, would be interesting to find out.

  • Hi Froggy,

    I discovered many years ago that even a small amount of liquorice triggered migraine attacks and also rhubarb had the same effect. It was "tragic" since they were both things I loved. And, of course with a migraine attack the BP goes sky high. Don't get many attacks now, since starting warfarin. Best migraine "treatment" I've ever had!!


  • Hi there, that's something I did not know! I eat soft liquorice all the time, have not noticed any of the effects mentioned, but then I have not been feeling well due to low Potassium and Haemoglobin so I shall keep an eye on my situation after eating the lovely liquorice, not the Allsorts I might add, the pure stuff.


  • Hiya - one other thing that I read was that it also lowers potassium levels.

  • Not to be taken with Warfarin either!!

  • Really?

  • I think it was liquorice that gave me a AF after not having it for a long period. I nearly demolished a bag of it. Stupid ended up in A&E. I do know you should not eat liquorice if you are taking a diuretic. It takes the potassium out of your system. Which would explain why you would get arrhythmia. It seems such a balance of minerals. Salt as well a potassium,

    is also as important in keeping the heart beating correctly.

  • Goodness that's scary....mind you I'm finding that my tolerance to anything sweet is hugely diminished since being diagnosed. Unfortunate but true :-(

  • I had no idea... Goodness me! Fortunately I don't eat it often, though I do love the soft proper Scandinavian liquorice. Thanks, I shall proceed with caution!


  • I used to be a sweet and chocolate lover, but since my AF cannot tolerate it in large amounts, I once ate a large amount of liquorice and was flat out on the bed for the next two hours ! Talk about aversion therapy ! Thought I was the only person that this happened to glad to know I'm not alone ! Anything with high sugar has the same effect now tho has anyone else noticed this as well ? Told the Dr who just poo pood me when I told him, said no high sugar doesn't have those side effects well or does with me !

  • I'm amazed, had no idea. I also love liquorice especially the soft stuff. Fortunately I don't get often but when I do I tend to scoff the lot. I recently discovered salt liquorice in an old fashioned sweet shop which I found to be absolutely delicious even though it sounds awful. Ho hum sounds like best avoided. Maggie

  • OH damn. Used to love that old stick stuff that we bought at the tuck shop years ago. Chewed it till it was tasteless. Gave you the runs after a while but never noticed any other problems but then we were only about 12.



  • If you think that Licorice is a problem then lookout for the ingredients. Licorice allsorts do not contain licorice essence, just flavouring, neither probably do some makes of pontefract cakes.

  • not the same but I understand that the veritable EU has issued new guidlines regarding amounts of cinnamon in danish pastries as it contains coumarin a natural blood thinner!!! More EU rubbish

  • My only vice is chocolate, I am horrified about giving that up as well. Every time I see a doctor of any description or rank, I get do you drink alcohol, tea, coffee. The answer to all of that is no, they say I bet you get asked that all of the time, the answer to that is YES. I have a yorkie bar and a bag of minstrels in the cupboard and now I am loathe to eat them, perhaps an experiment is in order as I guess everyone has different triggers. It is great that other peoples experiences are so helpful in helping others manage symptoms.

  • Oh dear! Not good news for this liquorice lover :-( Thank you for letting us now! Doctors should tell us this!!

  • Thanks froggy,You,ve just answered my question

  • I've also noticed that any large amount of sweets whether it be liquorice, or my other favourite treacle toffee can set my AF off. Have we found the link to what causes AF - eating too many sweets!!!!

  • This is the real culprit and can be found in other foodstuffs - even some cigarettes!

    "Quote" - The active ingredient in liquorice, glycyrrhizic acid, is found in a variety of products, including herbal remedies.

    That is from this link if you would like to read the whole (2004) article -

    It won't stop me having liquorice in moderation though :-)

  • Had no idea but as my mother suffers with AF and love liquorice !! No wonder she's not feeling great x

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