If you happened to be some kind of freak who actually likes black licorice, you can still eat it - just not too much.
If you are age 40 or older, snacking on two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could cause an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, according to the FDA.
- If you have been eating a lot of it, especially if you have irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, stop (and call your doctor).
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The FDA has released a new warning about overdosing on black licorice, advising people should limit their consumption of the chewy candy. Eating more than 2 ounces a day would be anything but a treat! The FDA says it can also have negative interactions with drugs and dietary supplements. Although it has a natural component to it, glycyrrhizin may cause potassium levels to fall when too much of it is consumed. That increases your risk of abnormal heart rhythm and other health problems. If you don't see one of those ingredients, the licorice flavor likely comes from artificial flavoring, meaning it does not include the compound.
Luckily, Americans don't seem to particularly like black licorice anyway. Potassium levels usually return to normal with no permanent health problems when a person stops eating it, according to the FDA's Linda Katz. The plant's root has historically been used as a traditional medicine in Eastern and Western medicine for the treatment of coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, heartburn, stomach ulcers and some viral infections. Instead, they use anise oil which has the same taste and smell but does not contain glycyrrhizin and therefore don't carry the same health concerns, but all sugary treats should be taken in moderation.