Benefits of Chicory
Although the medical usages of this herb are numerous, Chicory is known for the fact that it's considered an excellent coffee substitute. Moreover it contains insulin - a substance from the saccharoids group, very useful for transforming the non-alimentary substances into biodegradable ones.
Description of Chicory plantChicory (Chihorium intybus) is an edible perennial herb native to North Africa, Europe and Asia. Today it can be found all over the world and especially on the lands with a mild temperate climate. It gained its fame in Antiquity because of its therapeutic usages and the old Egyptians would use it to treat the liver and gallbladder problems.
They consumed chicory in large quantities because they believed that the herb could purify the blood and eliminate the toxins from the liver. In France during Napoleonic times chicory was used as a coffee substitute. England and the United States soon followed this example. While the root of this herb is used as a coffee substitute, the other parts are used either in cooking (especially in salads), either as medicine. Compared to real coffee, chicory stimulates the nervous system by sustaining the mental capabilities and concentration. This herb is also recommended in fighting the sleepy states and asthenia. Owing to the substances that it contains (like chicorine and choline) the herb shows laxative-like characteristics. At the same time, chicory stimulates digestion and the pancreatic secretion, regulating the amount of glucose in the human body. Moreover, should one include in one?s personal diet mixtures which contain chicory root, their body will adjust the level of cholesterol.
Proprieties and benefits of ChicoryIn the chemical composition of the herb substances can be found such as inulin, chicorine, choline, tanin, chicoric acid, aminated acids, starch, protids, minerals and vitamins (B, C, K, P). The root of the herb contains the highest concetration of the abovementioned substances. Various studies show that inulin greatly reduces the risk of the intestinal cancer. The tanin works as an astringent, disinfectant, detoxicant tonic and has a light antibiotic effect to it. It further influences the gallbladder effects (by enlarging the gall and the fluid quantity). Under the influence of the compounds with bitter taste, the digestion is stimulated and also the drainage of the liver and spine. These compounds reduce hunger but stimulate the sensation of fullness. In this sense a short rise of hunger followed by a considerable diminution of hunger was noticed. Chicory helps the body to better absorb calcium and other minerals.
Owing to the detoxifying, cholagogue-like, anticatarralic and alkalizing effects, the mixtures containing chicory are effective in treating digestive problems, gastritis, hepatitis, gallbladder problems, statis, mild enterocolitis, intestinal worms, and hemorrhoids. Due to the active compounds from the herb, the glucose from the blood accumulates faster under the aspect of glycogen in the liver. This process leads to a decrease in the glycemia and cholesterol which reduces diabetes and artery sclerosis. Other afflictions treated by chicory are: acne, anemia, anorexia, heart problems, arthritis, asthenia, liver and gallbladder problems, hepatic congestions, splenic problems, depressions, dermatosis, the decrease in the biliary secretions, headaches, furunculosis, goutiness, hepatitis, hydropsy, jaundice, urinal infections, biliary insufficiency, lithiasis, tiredness, marsh fever, intestinal parasitosis, rheumatism.
Mixtures and treatmentsChicory mixtures help detoxify the body and regulate metabolism and are recommended to those who have an inaccurate diet (hence a decreased metabolism) and also to those who are suffering from furunculosis, acne, intoxications.
When administrating the treatments based on chicory, in cases of people with a noticeable appetite, it is recommended that it should be done between eating hours. If the goal is to stimulate the appetite, the chicory mixture should be administrated just before dinner.
For reducing glycemia the consumption of two cups of chicory infusion a day or a cup of decoct before dinner is recommended. A cup of infusion of chicory before dinner stimulates digestion and is recommended during states of nervousness, asthenia, coughing. To prepare the infusion of chicory, two spoons of chicory are mixed in a liter of boiled water for 10-15 minutes. For the decoct tea it's necessary for a small amount of dry chicory root to be mixed in a liter of boiling water and then left to cool down for approximately 15 minutes. The chicory juice detoxifies the body. For this purpose it's recommended to have 2-3 spoons of it a day. To prepare chicory juice it's necessary to boil 1 liter of chicory infusion which gets mixed with 1kg of sugar until the liquid becomes thick, like syrup. If needed, a type of jam from chicory root can be made to treat the lung problems.
Chicory leaves are efficiently used as bandages for cuts and bruises. Cataplasms can be made of Chicory infusion in cases of acne, furunculosis, cuts and bruises.