Black Licorice – Love It or Hate It

For many of us, black licorice seems to be back on the radar many decades after we’d last given it any thought.

About all I remember about the treat – or ordeal, depending on where you stand – is a bitterness unlike anything else I’d tasted in something kids were supposed to enjoy.
Black LicoriceFor what it’s worth, I didn’t care much for licorice at all. I preferred Life Savers any day of the week.

But now I come across news articles and reports suggesting black licorice may be a lifesaver of sorts … or at least may offer some significant health benefits.

The Chinese have had that opinion for centuries. According to, licorice root has been used medicinally in China for over 3000 years. Natural medicine proponents in North America and elsewhere, often drawing on traditional Chinese approaches to medicine, use black licorice nowadays to treat congestion, ulcers, coughs, sore throats, and other ailments, and if you suffer from conditions like these you may want to see where your doctor stands with regard to the potential beneficial properties of black licorice.

Wherever your doctor stands, it’s likely he or she will advise against overconsumption of black licorice. The Food and Drug Administration takes this stance, warning people over age 40 not eat over 2 ounces of black licorice a day.

Licorice is from the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, and glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound found in licorice root, is believed to cause a drop in the body’s potassium levels. Such a drop may lead to high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, water retention, and swelling.

Despite the FDA warning about overconsumption of black licorice, reported cases of health-related problems stemming from consumption of black licorice are rare.

To most people – at least, those who love the taste of licorice – possible health benefits are just icing on the cake. Above all, licorice is something they love whether it’s good for their health or just good for their palates. And we’re not just talking snacks. Sturgeon fillets with a licorice-flavored crustacean broth, anyone? Or what about a nice Italian fruit punch with licorice garnish?

You may be aware that black licorice flavor is popular in drinks such as Jagermeister, but if you’re like me you had no idea how many black licorice liquors there are. And I’m sure they don’t taste a bit like NyQuil or other medicines that use black licorice flavor to make themselves more palatable to the general public, and not just licorice lovers.

Decades after last chewing on black licorice, I’m willing to give it another shot. My tastes have changed dramatically over the years, and I may just enjoy it. In any case, all the recent publicity about licorice tells me I’d better keep an open mind.

Indulge your sweet tooth (moderately) along with your health with a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan.

Which side of the fence are you on? Do you love black licorice, or do you hate it? Please leave a comment below.

Contact MedicareMall now and we’ll make it our priority to see you get the health care coverage you need.

Black Licorice – Love It or Hate It © 2012


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