Because licorice does not need to undergo dose-range studies for FDA approval, there is currently no established licorice dosage that is considered safe and effective. In fact, you should not use licorice medicinally without the approval and supervision of your healthcare provider. If you decide to use a licorice product, it is a good idea to find one that is made by a reputable manufacturer.
Licorice Dosage: An IntroductionIt is difficult to recommend a "dosage" for licorice, because it is consumed in so many different forms, such as candies, beverages, supplements, and extracts. These different forms may contain different amounts of the active components of licorice. However, even if this were not a problem, the best doses for licorice have not yet been scientifically established.
Is There a Reasonable Licorice Dose?With prescription and non-prescription medications, researchers establish the most effective and safest doses in special studies known as dose-range studies. These studies are done early in the development of medications, long before they are ever approved. However, because dietary supplements (including licorice) do not need approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dose-range studies are rarely performed. Without such studies, only vague "trial and error" information is available.
Until more information is available, you should follow the directions on the label of your specific licorice product. Because licorice can cause some significant and sometimes dangerous side effects (see Licorice Side Effects), you should never take a licorice supplement or use licorice medicinally without the approval and supervision of your healthcare provider.
General Information on Dosing With LicoriceConsiderations for people taking licorice include the following:
- In the United States, the manufacturing of dietary supplements, such as licorice supplements, is not closely regulated. If you decide to use a licorice supplement, it is important to choose a trustworthy manufacturer. It is a good idea to look for the "USP" symbol, as this means that the supplement has been tested and contains the right ingredients in the right amounts. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable.
- Many "licorice" products sold in the United States contain little or no real licorice. For instance, red licorice does not contain any real licorice, and many black licorice products contain anise flavoring instead of real licorice.
- Always check with your healthcare provider before taking licorice supplements or extracts, or even before consuming an unusually large amount of licorice candy or beverages.
- If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage or licorice dosing in general, please talk with your healthcare provider.