About Benefits of Chicory Herbs For Health Problems

Chicory

Cichorium intybus Compositae/Asteraceae.


Valued by the ancient Romans who cultivated it as a vegetable,wild chicory is a common sight on waste ground and roadsides in Europe. Growing up to 1 m tall the hardy perennial has deeply indented leaves crowding around erect stems that are downy on the underside. Flowerheads appear between June and September. Most are bright blue) but can be pink or white.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT liver and kidney problems, bloating, belching, sluggish digestion, flatulence
DECOCTION Put a 15-30g mixture of root, leaves and flowers into 1 litre of water. Boil for 5 minutes. Strain and drink 1 cup before the midday and evening meals.


INSTANT DRINK PREPARATION Add 1 heaped teaspoon of instant chicory to a cup of boiling water. Add milk and sweeten to taste.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Parts used

  • Leaves, flowers and roots
  • The leaves are gathered when the plant is in flower and are used to prepare infusions.
  • The flowers and roots may be harvested at any time of the year if they are to be used fresh, or in September if they are to be dried.
  • Roots are cnoppea up 'Into small pieces before drying in the sun. . Chicory roots are sometimes roasted and ground for use as a coffee substitute.

Constituents

The entire chicory plant contains a milky sap, of which the main constituent - about 45-60 per cent is inulin. Phenol acid is also found in the flowers, and in the roots there are bitter sesquiterpene lactones.


Medicinal uses

For centuries it was known that chicory had anti-inflammatory and antiseptic powers, and it was applied in poultices to ease swelling. This is due to the phenol acid, which also acts as a diuretic, remedying any bloating caused by fluid retention. More recently, it has been shown tnat cn',cory wY\1 ease'm'i'\ammai.ion caused by rheumatism and gout.


The inulin encourages the growth of bacteria needed for the intestines to work properly. Chicory, therefore, can help to prevent and treat problems such as sluggish digestion, gastric ulcers and flatulence. It has also been shown that the inulin can lower levels of blood cholesterol.


Both inulin and the sesquiterpene lactones are bitter principles which stimulate the flow of digestive juices, including that of bile from the gall bladder. This allows the liver to work more efficiently; in 1998 scientists in India confirmed that the root had this protective effect.


Cultivation

Chicory grows easily in almost any type of soil, especially if it is rich and well drained. The plant prefers a sunny location.


CAUTIONS

People suffering from an intestinal blockage or inflammation of the intestines should consult a medical herbalist before using chicory.


No adverse side effects have been reported to date.



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