Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. The appearance of the whole plant is not conspicuous, but its blue flowers are beautiful. The chicory flower is often seen as inspiration for the Romantic concept of the Blue Flower. The chicory roots used as a coffee substitute and additive in India, Southeast Asia, South Africa and the southern United States. The root contains inulin, a soluble polysaccharide, which is gaining popularity as a source of soluble dietary fiber.
Inulin and oligofructose belong to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans. The main sources of inulin and oligofructose that are used in the food industry are chicory and Jerusalem artichoke. Inulin and oligofructose are considered as functional food ingredients. Experimental studies have shown their use as bifidogenic agents, stimulating the immune system of the body, decreasing the pathogenic bacteria in the intestine, relieving constipation, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis by increasing mineral absorption, especially of calcium, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis by lowering the synthesis of triglycerides and fatty acids in the liver and decreasing their level in serum. Inulin and oligofructose also reduce the incidence of colon cancer1.
While most people in Europe consider this plant as a roadside weed, people in India, Africa, Florida and California are much more familiar with this plant, and chicory is used in everyday life for its healing properties and is also consumed as food and food additve. It has high amount of vitamin C.
What chicory is used for:
-protect the liver
-increase urine production
-reduce blood cholesterol
-reach and maintain a healthy weight
-kill or reduce intestinal parasites
-reduce the blood glucose levels
-stimulate the immune system
-reduce the risk of colon cancer
-Chicory also has a positive effect on rheumatic symptoms
Possible side effects:
Chicory is safe for most adults, but if you take any medicines or supplements regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using chicory. Chicory is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Do not use chicory without medical supervision if you have gallstones. Chicory may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family.
Source:1. J Biosci. 2002 Dec;27(7):703-14., fotó: Pixabay