A Canadian man’s blood pressure skyrocketed after he “overdosed” on licorice tea.
The 84-year-old showed up at the emergency room with dangerously high blood pressure and complained of headaches, sensitivity to light and chest pain, among other symptoms, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported.
According to the published case, doctors were able to establish the man had been drinking licorice tea twice a day for two weeks beforehand.
The drink is reportedly popular in Egypt, but a large amount of licorice in the body can be dangerous because it contains glycyrrhizin, a compound that can cause the body’s potassium levels to drop.
Consuming it can also cause arrhythmia and swelling. Licorice root is regulated in by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in foods for that reason.
The man in the case didn’t think he was drinking enough licorice for it to be a problem, although he knew it could have side effects, according to the journal.
In this case, doctors were able to give the patient blood pressure medicine, and within 24 hours, his blood pressure returned to normal levels.