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BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 09 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1096

Liquorice in pregnancy

The liquorice plant might have been introduced to England from Spain by monks at Rievaulx Abbey, where its name licoresse (derived from the Greek glukurrhiza) sounded similar to the medieval Yorkshire word likerish, meaning pleasant. Glycyrrhizin from liquorice root can promote glucocorticoid transfer across the placenta, therefore pregnant women are discouraged from its pleasures. A Finnish observational study discovered that girls and boys exposed to high maternal glycyrrhizin consumption scored 7 points lower on tests of intelligence quotient, had poorer memory, and had 3.3-fold higher odds of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems compared with children whose mothers consumed little to no glycyrrhizin (Am J Epidemiol doi: 10.1093/aje/kww172). So it is probably …

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