Chicory tea has been known for generations as possessing potent diuretic, tonic and laxative properties. It is also a popular herbal remedy in parts of Egypt for rapid heartbeats.
Chicory is a bushy perennial herb that grows as a wild plant commonly found in roadsides. It is part of the daisy and dandelion families. Chicory possesses blue, pinkish, or occasionally white flowers and is native to Europe, and naturalized in both North America and Australia.
Also known by its official name of cichorium intybus, the cultivated forms of chicory are commonly grown for their leaves or roots. These are baked, ground, and popularly used as a coffee substitute. The leaves can also be eaten as salad.
The main constituent found in the chicory root is the polysaccharide inulin. Inulin is mainly used as a sweetener in the food industry and is known to be convertible to fructose or glucose. Inulin is also being recognized as a source of dietary fiber. Other compounds found in chicory root are some bitter principles, tannins and a volatile oil.
To make an infusion of chicory tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water on a teaspoon of dried chicory root and let stand for about 5 minutes. To make a decoction of chicory tea, let simmer a teaspoon of dried chicory root in 2 cups of boiling water for about 15 minutes.
Possessing a pungent taste, the following health benefits are attributed to chicory tea:
- May have some sedative effects on the nervous system.
- May help in the treatment of liver ailments and other hepatic diseases.
- May help introduce healthy bacteria in the colon that contributes to the prevention of colon cancer.
- May help in the treatment of gastroenteritis.
- May help stimulate the appetite.
- May help in the treatment of gallstones.
- May aid in the treatment of sinuses.
- May help treat cuts and bruises.