A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology links licorice consumption by pregnant women to inhibited cognitive development in children.
According to the study, women who consumed licorice while pregnant exposed their child to glycyrrhizin, a chemical sweetener found naturally in the licorice root. The study linked the consumption of this chemical to various developmental issues including early pubertal maturation in girls, lower I.Q., and the higher likelihood of developing ADD or ADHD.
The study is not entirely conclusive in its findings due to the limited nature of conducting observational experiments. However, Katri Raikkonen, one of the main contributors to the study said “we know from animal studies that there are detrimental consequences for offspring of mothers who consume glycyrrhizin. Insofar as you can avoid it during pregnancy, you should do so.” Essentially, the study advises that women should avoid licorice while pregnant due to the potential risks to the child’s development
Read more in The New York Times here.