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Last week Sussex Transport made a delivery of goods in a Sprinter van to Pontefract in West Yorkshire.
Pontefract’s deep, sandy soil makes it one of the few British places in which liquorice can be successfully grown. The town has a liquorice-sweet industry; and the famous Pontefract Cakes are still produced, though the liquorice plant itself is no longer grown there. The town’s two liquorice factories are owned by Haribo and Monkhill Confectionery (part of the Cadbury‘s Group). A Liquorice Festival is held each year.
Known for its medicinal properties, liquorice can also be dangerous if consumed in vast quantities Excessive consumption is known to be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular system, and may produce hypertension. In occasional cases blood pressure has increased with excessive consumption of liquorice tea, but such occasions are rare and reversible when the herb is withdrawn. Most cases of hypertension from liquorice were caused by eating too much concentrated liquorice candy. Doses as low as 50 grams (2 oz) of liquorice daily for two weeks can cause a significant rise in blood pressure.
The European Commission 2008 report suggested that “people should not consume any more than 100mg of glycyrrhizin acid a day, for it can raise blood pressure or cause muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, headaches or swelling, and lower testosterone levels in men.” Haribo, manufacturer of Pontefract cakes, stated: “Haribo advises, as with any other food, liquorice products should be eaten in moderation.” A 56-year-old Yorkshire woman was hospitalized after liquorice overdose (200 grams or 7 ounces a day), which caused muscle failure. The hospital restored her potassium levels, by intravenous drip and tablets, allowing her to recover after 4 days.
Comparative studies of pregnant women suggest that liquorice may also adversely affect both IQ and behaviour traits of offspring….. You have been warned! Go easy on those liquorice allsorts this Christmas!
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