Chicory is used as a popular seasoning throughout Europe; in Italy, the leaves are added to salads and, in Greece, the roots are served in various roasted dishes. Many don’t realize that the herb has far more value than its unique bitter flavor. Chicory can soothe the mind and body while restoring balance to the digestive system at the same time.
This ancient herbal remedy can provide a wide range of health benefits, such as:
- Cell protection and prevention of signs of aging, due to the high antioxidant activity
- Increased flow of bile to promote liver health
- Reduction of inflammation
- Reduction of pain, due to analgesic properties
- Improved absorption of calcium and other minerals
In addition to the above health benefits, chicory is an adaptogen. This means it can help the body cope with the effects of stress. More than other adaptogens, chicory features a sedative-like quality that relaxes the mind and body. Scientists attribute this effect to a phytochemical called lactucin, a natural analgesic and calmative.
Above all, chicory can be therapeutic to the digestive system. Consuming any part of the plant can help to balance and regulate digestion, from the stomach on the down to the colon. Here are a few of the potentially-curative effects of chicory:
- Soothing upset stomach and gas
- Regulating metabolism and bowel movements
- Nourishing intestinal flora
- Promoting colon health and function
- Helping to eliminate toxins and fungal microorganisms
Both the leaves and the roots of chicory may be eaten fresh. Whether served raw or roasted, chicory has a bitter flavor that lends itself well to salads and vegetable dishes. If you don’t find its flavor pleasing, however, chicory can alternately be consumed as a tea or tonic. Chai teas by Golden Lotus Botanicals all contain chicory along with other therapeutic herbs. Browse them all in the Living Clean Store, or read more about adaptogens: