Avoiding licorice, etc? - Mothering Forums
I'm Pregnant > Avoiding licorice, etc?
Grantsmommy's Avatar Grantsmommy 11:09 AM 05-02-2004
My midwife gave me a list of herbs that are contraindicated to pregnancy. Licorice was listed, as well as sarsaparilla. My toothpaste has licorice root in it and I've been craving root beer (I found a caffine-free one at Harry's, with sarsaparilla). Was anyone else told to avoid these? Just wondering. I will call her tomorrow, but I thought someone here might have some answers. I don't want to hurt the bambino! Thanks!

Clarity's Avatar Clarity 11:28 AM 05-02-2004
I think there was a british study a few years ago linking regular intake with preterm labor. Studying licorice candy mostly, but with actual glyzz....however the heck you spell that...real licorice content. So if you drink a root beer that's fake flavor like most, or eat stuff like Twizzlers, no problem. I think it was a daily intake in most of the studies women too. I would have to seriously google to find this, but I remember it when it came out because I am a licorice fan. I still ate it sometimes, but more rarely.
cosmos's Avatar cosmos 05:25 PM 05-02-2004
An herbalist told me natural licorice can cause swelling and high blood pressure.
Mummoth's Avatar Mummoth 06:22 PM 05-02-2004
Well, I *had* sarsaparilla at around 14 weeks pregnant, on my honeymoon (DH & I were made a challenge out of thinking up *other* things to do for the first time, since sex was out!! ) and nothing bad happened to me. I think that it would be like anything else... you're more at risk of negative side effects if you consume it regularly, or in large quantities.
nikirj's Avatar nikirj 06:27 PM 05-02-2004
Here's an abstract talking about the original study:

Preterm birth and licorice consumption during pregnancy.

Strandberg TE, Andersson S, Jarvenpaa AL, McKeigue PM.

Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland. [email protected]

Heavy licorice (glycyrrhizin) consumption has been associated with shorter gestation. The aim of the present study was to test whether this association also applies to preterm (<37 weeks) births. In 2000-2001, a sample of 95 Finnish women who delivered preterm singletons was compared with controls (n = 107) who delivered babies of normal gestational age in the same hospital. Glycyrrhizin intake was calculated from questionnaires containing detailed items on licorice consumption. Glycyrrhizin exposure was grouped into three levels: low (<250 mg/week), moderate (250-499 mg/week), and heavy (> or =500 mg/week). Heavy consumption versus a lower level of consumption was associated with a more than twofold increased risk of preterm (<37 weeks) delivery. The association was stronger when only the 40 births classified as early preterm delivery (<34 weeks) were included (odds ratio = 3.07, 95% confidence interval: 1.17, 8.05 for the fully adjusted model). In conclusion, heavy glycyrrhizin exposure was associated with preterm delivery and may be a novel marker of this condition.

PMID: 12396997 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Shell's Avatar Shell 08:01 AM 12-10-2007
I can't believe I'm responding to a thread from 3 years ago, but I was researching this and throught I'd add some pertinent advice. This came about as I was going to drink some throat coat tea for a nasty sore throat, when I noticed it said that it was not for use for pregnant and nursing moms (I'm both). Anyway, it has licorice root in it, which can cause pre-term labor, as pp mentioned.

When I did a google search I saw a few posts on different parenting chat rooms about it being OK to eat Twizzlers (including one of the previous posters here) - since they are just candy. So I looked on Hershey's website, and I found this:

HERSHEY'S makes many licorice-type products that do not contain glycyrrhizic acid. TWIZZLERS Candy are often called licorice but only the black versions contain licorice extract. The other versions do not contain licorice extract and are not true licorice candies.
So, in case anyone does a search on this topic... Red "licorice" is okay, black is not.