Pregnancy Risks of Licorice Root To Know About

Licorice, commonly associated with candies, is a flavoring herb native to parts of Asia, North Africa, and Europe.

Interestingly, it is one of the oldest medicinal herbs used in the traditional Asian, Chinese, and African medicine systems.

According to the Heliyon Journal, the root of the licorice plant has potential anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial benefits on our health. It also helps control obesity and has an anti-depressant effect. (1)



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But what about licorice root tea during pregnancy? If you are an expecting mother looking to add pregnancy tea to your diet, how does licorice fare?

In this article, we will explore evidence-backed licorice root tea pregnancy effects and followed by healthy options to keep yourself and your baby safe.


1. Healthy Pregnancy: What It Entails?

Pregnancy is a life-changing experience. Both in terms of giving life and the changes that it brings upon your body.

You undergo several physical and emotional changes. These include alterations in your hormones, dietary cravings, fatigue & nausea, higher sensitivity, and the likes.

Medicine usage is very common to manage these symptoms.

A National Library of Medicine Journals says that one in five pregnant women are advised of medicines for various reasons.


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An even higher number of women self-medicate. (2)

But, this doesn’t come without side effects in the long run on the mother and the baby’s health.

Any drugs ingested by the mother may reach the placenta and cause birth defects and developmental delays in the baby.

The Oman Medical Journal validates that the use of side-effects free herbal ingredients is on a rise among pregnant women.

This usage ranges between 22.3-82.3 % and includes: (3)

  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Thyme
  • Aniseed
  • Chamomile
  • Green Tea

Very few pregnancy teas such as Red raspberry leaf teaDandelion tea are suggested to be consumed during pregnancy. 

Where does this leave licorice? Scores of women wonder about the efficacy of licorice tea during pregnancy, given its long-standing health benefits.

Let’s find out.


2. Licorice Root Tea During Pregnancy: What Do The Experts Say?

When you are pregnant, your gynecologist, general practitioners, and even your grandmother may have offered scores of suggestions about what to eat and what to avoid.

Out of the many food items that they ask you not to consume, licorice is one of them.


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Of all the herbal ingredients, licorice is particularly controversial and you may certainly want to avoid including it in your diet.


3. Why Should Licorice Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

The APSB Journal says that licorice contains more than 300 compounds that have antitumor, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activities. (4)



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Out of all these compounds, glycyrrhizin is the most active and has the widest range of health benefits.

It is a sweetener derived from licorice root that is used to flavor herbal teas, candies, and soft drinks.

Though it is incredibly healthy to be consumed during regular days, this very compound is said to harm both mother and child.


4. Is Licorice Root Tea Safe During Pregnancy?

Licorice tea though normally ranks amongst the healthiest teas in the world is contraindicated during pregnancy.

Several studies have found its link to damaging developmental issues for the baby.

It is also often associated with high-risk pregnancies with serious effects on the mother’s health.


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The American Journal of Epidemiology cites some reasons why licorice tea and pregnancy are not a good combination. (5)

Glycyrrhizin increases the cortisol levels in the body, which leads to a disruption in the nervous system of the fetus.

Women who had exposed their children to excessive licorice consumption have shown risk factors towards:

  1. Higher psychosocial stress.
  2. Lower intelligence and memory.
  3. Externalised behavioral problems.

Another licorice root tea pregnancy connection is clearly established in these neonatal outcomes as established by the Planta Medica Journal: (6)

  1. High blood pressure.
  2. It is said to aggravate nausea and morning sickness. 
  3. Women who consumed licorice regularly have a higher rate of stillbirths.
  4. Hypokalemia, or potassium deficiency-induced muscle cramps, fatigue, and abnormal heart rhythms.


5. Licorice Root Pregnancy Tea: Precautions And Dosage

Despite the many studies citing the adverse linkages between Egyptian licorice tea and pregnancy, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t warn women against licorice or licorice root.

If you have been enjoying licorice candy or tea occasionally, you needn’t be alarmed.

It is when licorice is consumed in large quantities that it becomes a hazard to your and your baby’s health.


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According to National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health, licorice tea pregnancy dosage has not been identified at this point in time by any medical research team. (7)

So, the best idea is to just avoid it completely during your pregnancy.
Think of it in this way- if you can avoid coffee, liquor, and sushi, giving up licorice cannot be too hard!


6. Other Herbal Teas As Alternatives

Now that we know that licorice root tea and pregnancy aren’t a great consideration together, how do you optimize your pregnancy health through organic herbal ingredients?



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According to the Medeni Medical Journal, here are some other potentially beneficial tea options to consider: (7)

Tea Name

Benefits in Pregnancy


Relieve flatulence




Prevents respiratory infections


Treat urinary tract infections


Gastrointestinal relief


Anti-inflammatory activity


Treatment of nausea


Relieve gastrointestinal problems


Enhance lactation


Improved fertility


Reduce frequency of contractions

There are two other pregnancy-safe, caffeine-free, and gluten-free teas that support optimal pregnancy health. These include:

As confirmed by the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies Journal, raspberry leaf is one of the top five herbs recommended for pregnant women.

It helps strengthen the uterus and ensures a safer and healthier pregnancy. (9) 

Try Pregnancy Tea with Nettle & Raspberry Leaf that’s made with 100% natural ingredients.

Another tea that will help you breeze through your pregnancy is the Raspberry Leaf Tea.

It has a wide range of benefits such as it eases menstrual cramps, helps during postpartum, and delays ovulation

Created by experts, these distinctly-flavoured teas are soothing, easy on the stomach, and safe for during and after pregnancy.

All you need to do is brew a cup of these and sit back. Your body will thank you for it!

You can prepare various red raspberry leaf tea recipes at your home. 


Have more queries about Pregnancy? Use our guides to the following topics for support:

1. Hibiscus Tea For Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

2. When To Start Drinking Red Raspberry Tea For Pregnancy?

3. Is Senna Tea Safe During Pregnancy?

4. Can I Drink Detox Tea While Pregnant?

5. Does Raspberry Zinger Tea Help Induce Labor?

7. Summing Up: Licorice Tea Pregnancy Connection

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Instead of wondering is licorice root tea safe during pregnancy, as confirmed by the Obstretics and Gynecology Journal, avoiding licorice altogether is the ideal way to ensure that your child enjoys good cognitive health throughout their life. 8 

Read food labels, be informed, and take all precautions to assess to avoid consuming licorice accidentally. And if you still do, consult your GP at the earliest.

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