Chicory is a plant wherein its roots and dried, above-ground parts are being used in making medicine. Aside from this, it is also used as a cooking spice and to flavor foods and beverages (1).
When used as an herbal remedy, this small plant has the ability to help promote weight loss, ease digestive and gastric issues, reduce arthritis pain, fight against kidney stones, prevent bacterial infections, boost the immune system, and many more (2).
Here are some of the detailed health benefits that we can obtain from chicory.
Can Help Improve Our Digestive Health
Chicory contains inulin which is a powerful prebiotic (a type of dietary fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in our gut). In a study, experts have found that inulin can help combat a number of intestinal and digestive concerns, including heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux disease because it can actively reduce the acidity of the body’s systems. Due to these effects, chicory may play a vital role in easing digestion (3).
Furthermore, results of a 4-week study in 44 adults with constipation found that taking 12 grams of chicory inulin per day helped soften stool and significantly increased bowel movement frequency, compared with taking a placebo (4).
May Provide Some Relief From Osteoarthritis
Chicory possesses anti-inflammatory qualities. Results of a 2010 study revealed that after receiving chicory treatment, 70% of the test subjects reported a noticeable improvement in the pain associated with their osteoarthritic conditions (5).
May Potentially Improve Brain Function
Nutrients such as manganese and vitamin B6 are also present in chicory. Manganese helps improve blood flow to the brain, fight free-radicals, and increase the speed that electrical signals pass through the brain to improve overall brain function. Meanwhile, we need vitamin B6 as it is vital in creating certain neurotransmitters in the brain (6).
May Help Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Due to its inulin, chicory may help boost blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Inulin promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria involved in carbohydrate metabolism — which breaks down carbs into sugars — and sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that helps absorb sugar from the blood (7).
In a study, participants with type 2 diabetes who took 10 grams of inulin per day have experienced a significant decrease in their blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a measurement of average blood sugar, compared with taking a placebo (8).