Chicory plants (Cichorium intybus) belongs to the family of Asteraceae, very close to the dandelion. This plant has several synonyms: chicory, bitter chicory, capuchin’s beard and farmer’s hair. It is grown for both its leaves (for culinary use) and roots, which are used as a coffee substitute.
The chicory plant has many medicinal properties and health benefits. Discover five virtues or therapeutic benefits attributed to chicory, especially to its roots, in this article. We will discuss the following health problems: obesity, hypertension, rheumatic diseases, stress and the problem of swollen testicles.
The whole chicory plant contains only 1 % fat.
Chicory contains two active ingredients, inulin and oligo-fructose, which can be incorporated into a diet to lose weight. This is what an article in the famous American magazine « Journal of Nutrition » reveals to us in July 1999 when it explains that these two substances are not digested by the body and provide it with no calories.
Moreover, the effects of chicory on controlling body weight are also due to its effect on digestion. Indeed, the fructo-oligosaccharides in the plant help to promote the development of beneficial bacteria in the intestines which helps to rebalance the intestinal flora. The proper functioning of the digestive system is a key factor in all weight-loss diets!
Make a decoction by boiling 30 g of sectioned and dried bitter chicory roots in a liter of water. Drink 2 cups of this tea per day.
Chicory is a beneficial drink for people with hypertension. The inulin in chicory lowers blood pressure.
Further, a root of chicory can provide up to 174 mg of potassium, as potassium plays an important role in lowering blood pressure.
Magnesium dilates blood vessels, slows blood flow and reduces blood pressure. Magnesium regulates the heartbeat and prevents irregular heart beat or arrhythmia (see article: Natural Treatment of Hypertension – Cardiovascular Diseases and magnesium)
Make a brew by boiling 50 g dried roots in a liter of water for 12 minutes.
Chicory helps the body to absorb calcium and other minerals better.
Chicoric acid contained in chicory acts as a diuretic that promotes drainage and elimination of uric acid.
Chicory is used in herbal medicine to treat rheumatic diseases such as gout and arthritis caused by hyperuricemia.
A magnesium deficiency can cause stress, anxiety, spasmophilia or even depression. Some people who habitually drink coffee during the day and who suffer from stress have found it useful to replace coffee with chicory. Indeed, chicory is rich in magnesium.
On the other hand, a deficiency of magnesium and phosphorus may be responsible for muscle cramps. Chicory is also rich in phosphorus. Its consumption helps reduce muscle cramps.
For example, a bowl of chicory provides 25-30 % of our daily requirement of phosphorus, 10 % of that of magnesium.
Some men find themselves overnight with swollen testicles for no apparent cause.
It is interesting that in the United States, some people use chicory to reduce the swelling of the testicles. According to them, this remedy is effective. Note, however, no medical study has confirmed this hypothesis.
A brewing of 40 g of dried bark of chicory for 12 minutes in one liter of water may be used to disenflame the testes. Drink 3 cups a day.
Sesquiterpene lactones contained in the plant are allergenic substances. For some people physical contact with the chicory plant causes contact dermatitis. Furthermore, the chicory may sometimes cause a rash when taken orally. Chicory can also induce asthma attacks.
Chicory interacts with certain drugs and other medicinal plants. Chicory may interact with drugs that are metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme.
Two examples of drugs that are metabolized by this enzyme is metoprolol (beta-blocking) and tramadol (analgesic). The use of chicory decreases the levels of these drugs in the blood, and therefore their effectiveness. Furthermore, chicory greatly increases calcium absorption.
Chicory should not be consumed if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby. Chicory is also known to have abortifacient effects. This means that taking chicory during pregnancy can induce a miscarriage.
If you have gallstones, it is strongly recommended to consult a doctor before consuming decoctions of chicory roots, given that this herb stimulates daily bile production.
Author : Alexis ROGER
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