Washington: Licorice tea, widely consumed for its herbal properties may come with its own health risks, claims a new study, which is associating the consumption of the beverage with elevated blood pressure. Researchers arrived at the conclusion after an 84-year-old man was hospitalised after drinking the tea.
“Excessive amounts of some herbal products can have harmful side effects. Products containing licorice root extract can raise blood pressure, cause water retention and decrease potassium levels if consumed in excess,” said, a neurologist Dr Jean-Pierre Falet, in the study published in the Journal of Canadian Medical Association.
The 84-year-old man visited the emergency department for a high-blood pressure emergency, which was found to be induced by consuming homemade tea made from licorice root.
His blood pressure was severely elevated, and he was suffering from a headache, light sensitivity, chest pain, fatigue and fluid retention in the calves.
After admission to hospital and treatment, the patient, who had a history of high blood pressure, told physicians he had been drinking one to two glasses daily of homemade licorice root extract called “erk sous” for two weeks prior.
Licorice tea is popular in the Middle East and parts of Europe, and erk sous are especially popular in Egypt during Ramadan.
“Given Canada’s multicultural population, physicians should consider screening for licorice root intake in patients with difficult-to-control hypertension,” said Dr Falet.