Black Licorice Heart – People with high-blood pressure or heart conditions should not eat large amounts of black licorice candy.
It is one of the many staples of Halloween and it can be a real treat for those with a sweet tooth. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns the tangy-tasting morsel can be tricky if eaten in large amounts by those with high-blood pressure or heart conditions.
FDA food experts say it contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, a sweetening chemical that comes from the root of licorice shrubs which are mainly grown in Greece, Turkey and Asia. The glycyrrhizin compound can lower potassium levels, which can lead to abnormal rhythms (arrhythmia), high blood pressure, edema (swelling) or even congestive failure.
Several medical journals have linked the black candy to health problem in adults over 40 years old, some with histories of heart disease or high blood pressure, according to the FDA. The federal agency also reports that last year, it received a report from one candy lover who experienced similar health issues after eating the tangy treat.
Thankfully, nearly all of it in the U.S. isn’t made from actual licorice root. And the abnormal heart rhythms and other side effects aren’t permanent. Still, the FDA warns that adults over 40 years old with conditions probably shouldn’t over-indulge. The agency says more than two ounces a day for more than two weeks could lead to arrhythmia.