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Throat Coat Tea and Potassium Loss
Question: A tea called Throat Coat made me lethargic and I was found to have low potassium. Is this a known problem? I was drinking 5 cups a day.
Answer: Throat Coat contains a very large amount of licorice root (760 mg per tea bag) plus another 60 mg of a 6:1 licorice root extract and these ingredients are likely to be the cause of your issues. Licorice root provides great flavor, but you need to exercise caution and moderation with it because it contains a compound that can act on the kidneys to cause loss of potassium, fluid retention, increased blood pressure, and lethargy. Throat Coat has a warning on its box regarding these issues, although the warning does not identify the causative agent — licorice root. See our article about licorice root for more details about its side effects, as well as the findings of clinical studies of its proposed uses.
Be aware that the FDA has warned that eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks can cause similar problems.
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