The chicory plant has a long history of use as a food item, and as a healing herb. Native to the Mediterranean, when cultivated, the leaves make a wonderful salad. The leaves of the chicory plant can be cultivated as radicchio, sugarloaf or Belgian endive. The root may be roasted until it develops a rich, nutty, woodsy aroma, reminiscent of roasted coffee. A small amount creates a strong brew, which is one of the reasons this herb is a popular coffee substitute or addition. At Shanti Tea, we sell straight chicory root and in an energizing blend called Spirit, with herbs known to boost energy, some of which are caffeinated, some are not.
Chicory is high in antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation of molecules can lead to free radicals, which may damage cells. Antioxidants have shown to improve hearth health, decrease complications caused by diabetes, decrease risk of cancer, and protect us from other conditions as we age.
This powerful root is also known for it’s toxicity to internal parasites. Another study found it to have fungal cleansing properties. There is even evidence that chicory root is harmful to the Salmonella bacteria in large doses.
Chicory root contains a large amount of inulin, a sweet substance containing high levels of fiber. If you haven’t heard by now, fiber has many benefits for the human body. It is helpful for weight loss, gut health, healthy bowl movements, heart health, skin health, helps to control blood sugar levels, and may reduce the risk of stroke.
4. Weight loss
Chicory root can help to curb hunger and aid in weight loss in other ways, mainly due to its high fiber content.
The anti-inflammatory properties of chicory are helpful in treating disease and pain associated with inflammation. Traditionally, chicory was used to treat arthritis, joint soreness and muscle pain. STudies have been done which confirm this.
6. Absorption of calcium
Chicory root is shown to help the absorption of calcium and other minerals, thanks to inulin. It may help to increase bone mineral density, and aid in the absorption of iron.
7. Heart Health
Studies are being done now to see if chicory reduces the presences of LDL cholesterol. This is due to the high levels of inulin in chicory, inulin is known to combat LDL cholesterol.