I have low blood pressure, and often feel dizzy and light headed. I've also started drinking a nightly tea of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, red tea, and burdock root. I found that all of these--as do most healthy things--reduce blood pressure. So I thought to add licorice to my tea to help raise it. My husband, however, is worried about me reducing potassium levels. How much licorice is too much? Should I just have it every other day or so, rather than every day?
I too have problems with low blood pressure. I usually keep some liquorice candy (the salty Finnish fish that aren't too sweet) in my pocket for emergency pressure drops. I have doctor orders to eat salty foods to try and get it up.
I find that two cups of liquorice tea per day works for me. Much more than that, and I have other complications (liquorice is really good for keeping you regular... too much). I never really thought about the effects it would have on potassium as I only test low on this if I've had a runny Crohn's attack.
Looking at this list, I seem to eat a fair number of foods that are potassium-rich - though I'm surprised Brussel Sprouts aren't on the list (we eat them for dessert)
The general thought it that doses of 3 grams or more per day should not be taken for more than 6 weeks for most people. That being said I have seen people use more than that for long periods of time as their health condition made it necessary. I tell people to monitor their blood pressure when taking Licorice. If it goes above normal, they have definitely had too much.
Licorice does increase sodium absorption and remove potassium via the kidneys, and this does raise blood pressure due to the increased sodium. This may be a wanted effect and why the Licorice is used or it could be an unwanted side effect that will stop you from using the herb. This action is due to glycyrrhizic acid content. Deglycyrrhizinated (de-glycyrrhinized) licorice has been investigated for its clinical use and safety. Its use has been controversial. There is 2-9% glycyrrhizic acid (glycyrrhizin) in licorice root. The deglycyrrhizinated root extract has a maximum of 3% glycyrrhizic acid in it. Some people still get edema and hypertension from the deglycryyhizinated root.
People who have issues with hypoadrenal states or folks with mycotoxin issues that get low antidiuretic hormone will often have low blood pressure and find using licorice is helpful. Low blood pressure can be quite an issue for some people as a part of other chronic problems. Licorice can help them to keep their BP up. In their case increasing sodium and decreasing potassium is helpful. In these cases the loss of potassium is not usually an issue, but if it is a person can eat high potassium foods to make up for it if it is. Here is a list of food with potassium amounts listed. You can see some foods are really high in potassium. All leafy greens have potassium.
Potassium is in so many foods that people who eat healthy are rarely low in it. Even when they are, they often don't have symptoms. However, when real low it can cause severe muscle weakness and if really bad lead to paralysis and respiratory failure. You can get constipation, weakness, fatigue and muscle twitches or cramps as well as abnormal heart rhythms.
1 large Russet potato = 1644 ,mg
1 cup beet greens = 1309 mg
1 cup pistachios roasted 1239 mg
½ cup dried apricots = 1100 mg
1 avacado 975 mg
1 cup swiss chard 961 mg
1 general potato –medium 926 mg
1 cup cooked squash 650 mg
½ cup prunes 627 mg
1 cup coconut water 600 mg
3 oz wild salmon 500 mg
1 banana 400 mg
It is not usual people need potassium supplements due to potassium availability in diet but if you do you need to be aware that they should only be taken with food and too much potassium also causes irregular heart beats, weakness and fatigue. It can additionally cause numbness and tingling, nausea and vomiting, trouble breathing and chest pain. Potassium use to be used to stop the heart and breathing when vets gave injections to kill animals. It was pretty abrupt too.
By the way, black pepper decreases glucuronidation. Glucuronidation is one of the Phase II conjugation pathways that is used to remove bodily made molecules as well as environmental toxins. I wrote a detailed article about glucuronidation here: https://youarethehealer.org/health-conditions/optizmize-your-health/detox-biotransformation-pathways/glucuronidation/ Some people take black pepper to decrease glucuornidation of the curcumin in Turmeric (I see them both in your formula) and you will see them sold together, but I am concerned that we don't know much about doing this and inhibitors of glucuronidation may expose a person to the ravages of toxins. One has to ask themselves if this is truly a good idea or not. I think we need more data to know for sure. It appears colon cancer might be increased in people when there is inhibition of glucuronidation activity. For some individuals using piperine or Black pepper as an herbal medicine to enhance bioavailability of curcumin may be helpful, while for others it could lead to additional future health issues.
May You Walk in Beauty,
Sharol Tilgner ND
Sharol's books available at website
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