Herbal Therapies Used by People Living With HIV: Licorice
Part of A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for People Living With HIV
Licorice raises sodium levels and lowers potassium levels; it may elevate the blood pressure of those who use it regularly. Sodium, potassium, and chloride are known collectively as electrolytes. Electrolytes should be monitored carefully in people who intend to take licorice root regularly, because electrolyte imbalances can cause heart problems, fluid retention and other serious side effects. People who use licorice may also be wise to eat a low-salt diet with plenty of foods that contain potassium, such as bananas. The regular use of large amounts of licorice (i.e., seven grams per day) may also cause impotence by blocking the production of testosterone and estrogen. Further, it might increase other HIV- related problems tied to low testosterone, such as wasting.
Licorice root is available in a capsule form, which the body seems to absorb well. An injectable form may be ordered by prescription through some American buyers' clubs.
This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.