Chicory root is known more commonly as a coffee substitute, or as an additive for coffee. However, chicory root is much more than this.
Chicory root has been consumed by humans for hundreds of years, usually as a drink concoction. Even in the beginning, people were in tuned with the healing properties of the chicory root. It has always been a source of comfort and healing for those that brewed it as a drink, though some chose to ingest it directly.
So what exactly is chicory root? It is actually a plant from Europe that is considered a weed with lavender flowers. It belongs to the lily family, and is now harvested in many different parts of the world. Chicory root can be cultivated for salad leaves, or for their buds to use as food. The leafy greens of the chicory root can also be used as food for livestock. However, it is the root itself that is most healthy for the body.
For the most part, chicory root is used in coffee powder. The baked and ground roots are used as either an additive or substitute for coffee. Chicory root is beneficial for those on high-fiber diets due to its fibrous properties. It can be a great source for the daily recommended value of dietary fiber.
Chicory root is a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C and beta carotene. Consuming chicory root has the ability to lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body, which can help prevent many different types of cardiovascular disease. Chicory root drinks are often aimed at liver health, sometimes even being called “liver tonics”. It can be used as a protection against gallstone, and gallbladder and liver disorders. The dietary fiber, inulin, is also useful in intestinal disorders and is said to be a great remedy for constipation and other digestive issues.
Chicory root is used as a laxative and diuretic agent, helping to rid the body of toxins and waste that make people sick. Researchers now claim that chicory root may even prevent certain types of cancer, especially that of the skin or stomach.
Chicory root has been linked to weight loss, aiding the body in fat burning and boosting metabolism. It has also been used as a skin healing agent to prevent infection and keep down swelling and itching. Though chicory root can offer a full range of health benefits, studies are still being done to back this data up. If you are interested in including chicory root into the diet, it is a good idea to seek the professional guidance of a physician before starting.
There is the potential for possible side effects, including allergic reactions, skin irritation, vision problems, and drug interactions. Pregnant woman should take even more care, and probably avoid chicory root during pregnancy, as research has not concluded any benefits or risk to infants.
I like to drink instant chicory root with milk and sugar. I drink it instead of coffee.
Research continues on this amazing plant, and hopefully with time, the chicory root will take its place alongside the greatest of herbal medicines on the market. Just use care and discretion when being the regimen.