10 Impressive Health Benefits Of Chicory Root

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Anna Jones, MS, RD, LD/N
by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a flowering plant whose root is popular as a coffee substitute. It is a perennial plant, and its roots are rich in fiber and other important nutrients.

Chicory root may boost digestive health, aid diabetes treatment, help fight inflammatory arthritis, aid weight loss, and improve skin barrier function.

In this article, we have discussed the many benefits of chicory root and how you can use it in your diet. You can also check out the nutritional profile of the root.

What Is Chicory Root? How Can It Be Good For You?

Chicory root comes from a plant of the dandelion family that bears bright blue flowers. It appears wood-like and is fibrous. This root has natural laxative effects on the body. It also contains inulin, which could promote bone health in rat studies (1).

In the following section, we will look at the benefits of the root in detail.

What Are The Benefits Of Chicory Root?

1. May Boost Digestive Health

The inulin in chicory works as a powerful prebiotic. It improves gut function by promoting the health of the gut bacteria. It also is well tolerated by individuals with gastrointestinal symptoms (2).

Inulin also works as a natural fiber and eases constipation (3). It promotes a smooth and regular digestive process, and this can potentially reduce the risk of colorectal cancer (4).

2. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

Studies have shown that chicory root extract can increase the levels of adiponectin, a protein that regulates blood glucose levels. This can help delay or prevent the early onset of diabetes (5).

In a rat study, chicory extract was found to be useful as a natural dietary supplement for slowing down the progression of diabetes (6).

3. May Help Fight Inflammatory Arthritis

Preliminary studies show that bioactive extracts of chicory root can have a potential role in treating osteoarthritis. More large-scale studies are needed to confirm these findings (7).

It is believed that plant polyphenols combat inflammation. If you have inflammatory arthritis, chicory root could be one remedy you can look at (after consulting your doctor).

Intake of chicory was found to enhance blood flow and the functioning of red blood cells (8). It is believed that this property of chicory could help combat inflammation, though more research is warranted. Chicory appears likely to help in the treatment of arthritis or gout, but more studies are needed in this regard.

4. May Aid Weight Loss

This could be attributed to the inulin in chicory root. Studies show that inulin can aid weight loss, especially in individuals with prediabetes (9).

5. May Improve Skin Barrier Function

Studies have shown that chicory root extracts may improve skin barrier function. They may also treat the dryness that accompanies the aging process (10).

Chicory root extracts act as an active ingredient and can restructure the skin barrier. These extracts can effectively maintain homeostasis and prevent skin alterations (10).

6. May Reduce Stress

Whether chicory root directly reduces stress is yet to be studied. However, because of its flavor, it is often used to make a beverage that can be substituted for coffee. Studies show that excess coffee (caffeine) intake can aggravate stress. Repeated caffeine consumption, combined with stress, can increase one’s cortisol levels and further cause issues (11).

7. May Boost Liver Health

A rat study states that chicory extract can protect the liver from oxidative damage. However, excess (doses of 200 mg per kg of body weight) of the same may cause damage to the liver (12).

In an Egyptian study, chicory extract was found to reduce oxidative stress and prevent cell damage in rat livers. When taken along with celery leaves, the mixture could reduce the symptoms of liver diseases (13).

8. May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

Though we need more research in this regard, certain sources promote the anticancer activities of chicory. The root extract showed antiproliferative activity on skin cancer cells (14).

9. May Help Treat Kidney Disorders

Some research states that chicory can help prevent renal injury. In rats, the root lowered serum uric acid levels and prevented possible kidney damage. Chicory could be used as an alternative to alleviate kidney damage caused by high blood uric acid levels (15).

It is believed that chicory root also has diuretic properties, which may increase urine volume and eliminate toxins from your system.

If you have kidney issues, use chicory root only after consulting your doctor. The root is not a replacement for medications.

10. May Help Treat Candida And Eczema

Chicory extract was found to have antifungal properties that may help in the treatment of certain forms of Candida. The extract also has fewer side effects (16).

Replacing your regular coffee with chicory coffee may also help in treating Candida. Caffeine may stress your adrenal glands and weaken your immunity, further aggravating candida. Replacing it with chicory coffee may help, although there is no research to support this.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that chicory root may help treat eczema. You will need two teaspoons of ground chicory root and a glass of boiling water. Add the two to a steam bath for about 30 minutes, and allow the mixture to sit for another 30 minutes. Dip gauze bandages in the liquid and apply them to the affected areas. You can cover the bandage with a plastic wrap and leave it on for about 30 minutes. Repeat every morning and night for a week.

However, this procedure has not been validated by the medical community. Please check with your doctor before using chicory root for eczema treatment.

Certain benefits of chicory root are yet to be studied extensively. However, the root does help promote health in a few ways. In the following section, we will look at the different ways you can include the root in your diet.

How To Use Chicory Root In Your Diet?

Some of the most popular methods include:

  • Chicory Coffee

Wash and slice the roots. Roast them in an oven. Cook them until they turn dry and brown. Grind the roots in a food processor. The consistency must be similar to ground coffee. You can brew ground chicory alone or with coffee. Take a tablespoon of ground chicory and mix it with hot water.

  • Grilled Chicory

You can cut chicory root and coat its sides with olive oil. Halved or quartered chicory heads work best on a grill. After setting the heads on the grill, they should be cooked in 10 minutes. You can have it on its own or drizzle it with lemon juice.

  • Steamed Chicory

This method involves the leaves as well. Steam the leaves along with the chicory root in a steamer basket for about 5 minutes. You can add them to salads or pasta.

These are the ways you can consume chicory and avail its wonderful benefits. In the next section, we will explore the nutritional profile of chicory root.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Chicory Root?

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 60g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 44Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 30mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 11g4%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars
Protien 1g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C5%
Calcium2%
Iron3%
Vitamins
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A3.6IU0%
Vitamin C3.0mg5%
Vitamin D~~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)~~
Vitamin K~~
Thiamin0.0mg2%
Riboflavin0.0mg1%
Niacin0.2mg1%
Vitamin B60.1mg7%
Folate13.8mcg3%
Vitamin B120.0mcg0%
Pantothenic Acid0.2mg2%
Choline~
Betaine~
Minerals
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calcium24.6mg2%
Iron0.5mg3%
Magnesium13.2mg3%
Phosphorus36.6mg4%
Potassium174mg5%
Sodium30.0mg1%
Zinc0.2mg1%
Copper0.0mg2%
Manganese0.1mg7%
Selenium0.4mcg1%
Fluoride~

*Values sourced from USDA, chicory roots, raw

Though the chicory root is nutritious, you should not consume it in excess. Over-consumption of the root or its extracts may lead to certain side effects. They are not scientifically proven and are based on anecdotal evidence.

What Are The Side Effects Of Chicory Root?

  • May Cause Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Chicory root may trigger menstruation and miscarriage. Hence, it is not recommended during pregnancy. There is not enough research in this regard. Hence, stay safe and avoid use.

  • May Cause Allergies

If you are allergic to ragweed or related plants, you may be allergic to chicory as well. The root can cross-react with birch pollen and cause the associated oral allergy syndrome (17). If you are allergic to the marigold, daisies, chrysanthemums, etc., please consult your doctor before using chicory root.

  • May Cause Gallstones

Chicory may stimulate bile production and cause issues in individuals with gallstones. Hence, it is imperative to consult your doctor.

Conclusion

Chicory is a fiber-rich root with several medicinal properties. It is a natural food additive and has been used in cooking for centuries.

This traditional medicine may help in treating many health ailments, ranging from digestive problems to skin-related issues. However, excess intake of this root may cause certain adverse effects in people. Do not consume beyond 200 grams per kilogram of body weight. It is best to check with a doctor for the appropriate dosage.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What is the difference between chicory root and psyllium husk?

While chicory is a root, psyllium husk is a seed. The similarity between them, however, is that the two have fibrous characteristics.

Where to buy chicory root?

You can buy the root from your nearest supermarket or health food store. You can also get it online at Amazon.

Does chicory root cause gas?

As per anecdotal evidence, the root may cause gas. The fiber in the root is possibly broken down by the bacteria in the intestine, leading to bloating and gas.

Does chicory root increase appetite?

No. The fiber in this root may decrease appetite and total calorie consumption. This, in turn, can lead to weight loss.

Is chicory root gluten-free?

Yes. Chicory root is gluten-free. Inulin, a fiber derived from this root has been used in many gluten-free cakes, bread, and pasta (18).

18 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.
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