If you want to learn what are the most important chicory root health benefits, continue reading and find out how to use chicory root for health.
Modest and often overlooked, chicory is a natural medicine with many health benefits due to its healing roots. Chicory roots are thin, but strong and are a remarkable autumn storehouse for the nutrients and powerful healing substances that the plant has gathered throughout the year. This is why chicory root is one of the most amazing natural medicines for very many health problems. But before we move to the chicory root health benefits and how to use it at home, here is how to harvest chicory root. Know that the foraging season is here.
How to Harvest Chicory Root
Chicory loves full sunshine and grows in open fields, meadows, roadsides, and vacant lots, from plains to low mountain areas. For medicinal purposes, the root of the plant is harvested in October-November. Use a shovel to dig up the chicory root, wash it well and then clean it thoroughly using a strong brush to remove all the dirt. Split each piece of root lengthwise, and cut it into small 1-inch bits. Leave to dry in the open air, or in a dehydrator, until the root pieces snap (no longer bend). Do not roast it, to preserve its medicinal properties. Store in paper bags for later use. Now let’s see what are the most notable chicory root health benefits.
Chicory Root Health Benefits
In Europe, chicory root (Cichorium intybus) was considered since ancient times an elixir for the liver and for digestion, as well as a powerful remedy against poisons. Indeed, chicory root regulates appetite and metabolism, improves bowel movements, and prevents constipation. But the most important chicory root health benefits are these two. Chicory root supports the development of good gut bacteria, and it flushes out toxins from the liver. These two actions, when working together open the path to healing from very many health conditions. This is why, the chicory root health benefits are so many varied, and apparently unrelated. They are:
- weight loss, and the yo-yo effect
- diabetes (all types & prevention)
- high cholesterol
- poor digestion
- liver problems (poisoning)
- alcohol intoxication
- gastric ulcer
- candidiasis (yeast infection)
- calcium deficiency
There are many other chicory root health benefits, above are the most important ones worth mentioning. Now that you know what are the key chicory root health benefits, here are five ways in which you can use chicory root for health.
5 Ways to Use Chicory Root as Medicine
1. Chicory Root Powder
To make chicory powder, grind the dried chicory root with an electric coffee grinder. This chicory root remedy has excellent cleansing, and hypoglycemic properties, and is also a powerful natural probiotic (supports gut-friendly bacteria).
- How to Use – one teaspoon 2-3 times a day.
2. Chicory Root Combined Infusion
Soak two teaspoons of chicory root powder in a cup of water and leave overnight at room temperature. Strain and put the cold maceration aside. Simmer the used chicory plant for 2 minutes in another cup of water, then leave the decoction to cool. Finally, combine the cold maceration and the warm decoction and the combined infusion is ready.
- How to Use – Drink the entire quantity over the course of a day.
3. Chicory Root Tincture Recipe
Put 20 tablespoons of chicory root powder in a jar, pour over 50 degrees of food alcohol, and stir continuously. When the entire chicory powder has been covered with alcohol, leaving a two-finger layer of alcohol on top, seal the jar and leave it to macerate for 12 days. Strain the chicory root tincture and pour it into small amber glass bottles. Can be used for a maximum of 2 years.
- How to Use – As a rule, one teaspoon of tincture 4 times a day, over the course of 1-3 months.
4. Chicory Root Coffee Recipe
Chicory root coffee is one of the best coffee alternatives for gastritis because is gut and stomach-friendly. We have published a whole article on how to prepare chicory root coffee from harvest to a hot cup, alongside its health benefits. You can read the full article here.
5. Chicory Root Extract
Chicory root extract is obtained from the chicory tincture after the complete evaporation of the alcohol, leaving a fine, bitter, and extremely concentrated powder in active principles – the chicory extract. This extract contains 5-6 times more active principles which are fully assimilated by the body compared to plain chicory root powder in which case only 25% of the active principles are assimilated. Use can differ depending on each individual. You can find chicory root extract capsules in health stores or online.
10 Chicory Root Health Benefits & How to Use at Home
1. Weight Loss
One of the main chicory root health benefits is its weight loss and appetite regulation properties. Among the first scientists who noticed the weight loss properties of chicory root are the famous Romanian pharmacist Ovidiu Bojor and the Romanian medical doctor Octavian Popescu, who, in a joint paper, noticed a paradox: when administered before a meal, chicory root extract stimulates the appetite, while when taken during the meal, it has a strong appetite inhibiting action. The reason is that when taken during the meal it inhibits the secretion of the so-called hunger hormone (ghrelin), instead stimulating the production of the satiety hormone (leptin), which is a strong appetite inhibitor.
Chicory root extract is the only known natural remedy that helps maintain the balance between the secretion of the hormone of hunger (ghrelin) and that of satiety (leptin), which explains its extraordinary beneficial effects in weight loss.
For weight loss, the dosage is 1-3 capsules of chicory root extract a short time (4-5 minutes) after starting to eat, no matter the quantity of food you consume. Each capsule is swallowed down with at least 200 ml of water. Continue for 1-2 months, pause for 2-4 weeks, and resume if desired. One can take up to 12 chicory root extract capsules a day, without health risks. Chicory root extract is also great for the yo-yo effect. In this case, one can take 2 chicory extract capsules each with the main meals, then abstain from any food. This is one of the main chicory root health benefits.
2. High Cholesterol & Triglycerides
Chicory root contains impressive quantities of inulin, an active substance that has a strong action of reducing so-called bad cholesterol (LDL). A 1993 study showed a reduction in the content of total liver fats and triglycerides after using chicory root. The reason is that chicory root is a powerful liver detox, as a fatty, overburdened liver is the real cause behind high cholesterol. You can read more about it here. For this, one can supplement with chicory root extract capsules. The regular dosage is 8 capsules per day, in courses of 40 days, with a 15-day break, after which the treatment can be resumed. This is one of the key chicory root health benefits.
Amongst the most important chicory root health benefits we had to mention diabetes. There are many studies showing the link between chicory root and reduced blood sugar. Additionally, chicory root reduces the production of glucose in the liver and stimulates the secretion of insulin in the pancreatic cells. As prevention for diabetes, one can drink half a liter of chicory root decoction, in four portions throughout the day.
This decoction regulates insulin secretion and prevents blood sugar spikes. For type 1 diabetes, long-term supplementation with chicory root extract has shown the best results, alongside other hypoglycemic plants such as dandelion, mulberry, burdock, and artichoke. While for type 2 diabetes one can drink one liter of chicory root combined infusion a day.
4. Poor Digestion & Gastric Ulcer
Chicory root contains active principles that boost bile and gastric juices production, improving digestion and eliminating problems such as bloating, loss of appetite, and gastric atony. This is one of the key chicory root health benefits. For dyspepsia and poor digestion, one can take chicory root powder, namely half a teaspoon 15 minutes before each meal. Chicory extract (0.8-1.2 grams per day) helps restore the linen and the damaged gastric walls of the stomach.
Moreover, chicory favors the development of good bacteria in the stomach, thus inhibiting the development of Helicobacter pylori. For this, you can supplement with chicory root extract capsules over the course of 4 weeks, during the main meals (taking chicory before the meal stimulates gastric secretions, which can aggravate gastric ulcers). This is one of the main chicory root health benefits.
5. Liver Disorders
One of the key chicory root health benefits is its power of cleansing the liver, especially after poisoning, or alcohol intoxication. Experimental studies have shown that organisms intoxicated with very toxic substances (such as methanol, carbon tetrachloride, etc.) react very well to the administration of chicory root tincture or extract, which especially stimulates the cleansing and recovery of the liver. In this case, a teaspoon of chicory tincture, three times a day is the recommended way to use chicory root. If you do not tolerate alcohol, replace the tincture with chicory root extract capsules (six per day). This is a long-term treatment until the liver fully cleanses.
A 1999 Japanese study has shown that the administration of chicory root extract in the first minutes after the onset of an allergic reaction has a noticeable improvement in symptoms. Indeed, this is one of the less-known chicory root health benefits. For this, one can take 4 capsules of chicory extract at the first signs of hives, respiratory catarrh, or digestive problems caused by an allergen. Afterward, supplements with 6-8 chicory root extract capsules a day, until the symptoms disappear.
One of the key chicory root health benefits is its probiotic properties. Chicory root supports the development of good bacteria in the digestive tract. These bacteria inhibit the development of Candida albicans and other parasitic “mushrooms”, keeping their proliferation under control. Chicory root is very effective in both digestive and vaginal candidiasis (yeast infection). For this, one can supplement with 4-6 chicory root extract capsules a day in a single dose over the course of 1-2 months. Additionally, in case of yeast infection, 3-5 vaginal douches a week with a warm infusion of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) are recommended.
The indigestible sugars from the chicory root stimulate the friendly Bifidus bacteria in the gut, increase the biomass of feces and their water content, and stimulate intestinal peristalsis, improving elimination. In case of constipation, you can take 2 teaspoons of chicory root powder a day, in the morning and evening for three weeks. Pause for 5 days and resume if necessary. This simple remedy also boosts natural immunity, preventing colds and flu. This is one of the most important chicory root health benefits.
9. Calcium Deficiency
Chicory root contains a small, almost negligible amount of calcium, but it is still an excellent remedy against calcium deficiency. The reason is that this root favors the assimilation of calcium from other food sources (such as almonds, nuts, soy, broccoli, spinach, etc.). For this, you can supplement with chicory root extract, 1-2 capsules, with each of the main meals of the day.
One of the least known chicory root health benefits is its impact on cancerous tumors. A study showed that the administration of chicory root reduced the incidence of various types of tumors, and when the cancerous disease was already established, chicory slowed the growth of tumors and the occurrence of metastases. The reason is that it stimulates intestinal transit and, consequently, the elimination of toxins, normalizes the bacteria in the colon, and neutralizes free radicals. One can supplement with chicory root extract capsules (6-8 per day, in courses of 45 days, with a 10-day break).
Chicory Root Side Effects & Contraindications
Chicory root does not contain toxic principles and is safe to use. Some side effects have been shown after ingesting more than 100 g of chicory root per day, but this is a very large quantity. Symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and, very rarely, heartburn may appear after using chicory root preparations. In the case of bloating, you can take alongside chicory root a pinch of anise powder (Pimpinella anisum) or fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), which have a carminative effect. If you experience heartburn or severe digestive problems after using chicory root, stop using it.
Read also: How to Make Chicory Root Coffee – Harvest to Cup
Now that you know the most important chicory root health benefits and how to use chicory root for various health problems, please share this article so more people can use this information. Let us know what is your favorite way of using chicory root for health in the comments below. Stay healthy, naturally!
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