We love licorice at Pukka. Sweetness is just one of the six essential tastes that our Herbsmith Sebastian Pole considers when creating our blends, carefully balancing the therapeutic effect of our teas with the best taste experience. It is calming and nourishing, and its silky nature helps soothe your whole system. In many traditional medicine approaches around the world it is also seen as a good harmoniser of other herbs in a mix. Adding licorice to our teas brings out the best of all ingredients so you get the most balanced blend.
Some studies into the effects of licorice on our bodies have suggested that it has the potential to increase blood pressure and decrease blood potassium levels. These studies have used either isolated extracts of a constituent known as glycyrrhizin (GL) or licorice candy sweets, and the implications for taking licorice in its natural form, e.g. in teas, have not been established. For example, in licorice candy, high levels of sugar and salt may also affect blood pressure or potassium levels. Studies on the risks of licorice candy have also been done in countries where recreational consumption is more common.
Most Pukka teas have levels of licorice that are too low to have an impact on blood pressure unless taken excessively. However, there are a few where levels are higher and here we should take due precautions. If you have moderate or severe hypertension (high blood pressure) you should monitor your readings if you are taking regular daily quantities of Pukka teas that have high levels of licorice. The teas with the most have the word ‘Licorice’ in the title of the tea: Three Licorice, Peppermint and Licorice, and Licorice and Cinnamon (for which we put a high blood pressure warning on the labels). Other relatively high licorice levels are seen in Mint Refresh and Lemon, Ginger and Manuka.
On balance it is probably wise not to consume any high-licorice tea every day if you have high blood pressure. However, it is regularity and frequency that makes the difference and you should be able to enjoy occasional cups of all these teas safely.