Chicory: properties, uses, nutritional values ​​and contraindications

Common or wild chicory is defined as a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family.

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La common chicory (Cichorium intybus), o wild, it comes defined as a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family.

It is recognizable by the presence of light blue flowers and it has been used since ancient times by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans because of its beneficial properties. The maximum height of common chicory can exceed one meter and reach one and a half meters.


Chicory, properties and benefits

Le roots chicory, which represent the most used part for medicinal purposes, contain both sugary and bitter substances, as well as some derivatives of caffeic acid. As for mineral salts, chicory contains potassium, calcium and iron. The bitter taste of chicory is due to the presence of chicoric acid. As regards the Vitamins, chicory contains Vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamins P and K.

As in the case of other bitter herbs used for food consumption, due to its distinct flavor and the substances it contains, chicory is attributed purifying properties e detoxifying, with particular reference to the roots, which would be able to stimulate the activity of the liver and kidneys.

In addition, chicory is attributed digestive properties, with particular reference to its ability to stimulate the production of bile. It is considered one natural purge, due to its laxative effects. It is also a natural diuretic. Chicory would also have the ability to regulate the heartbeat, to reduce certain types of inflammation and to control glycemia. From chicory are obtained herbal extracts considered useful in case of bloating, constipation and irritable colon.

Let's summarize properties and benefits of chicory:

  • Source of vitamins
  • Purifying properties
  • Detoxifying properties
  • Stimulant for the liver and kidneys
  • Digestive properties
  • Promotes the production of bile
  • Laxative effects
  • Natural purge
  • Natural diuretic
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Keeps your blood sugar in check

Chicory, calories

Chicory is a very light food, also suitable for those who follow a calorie-restricted diet since 100 grams of chicory bring only 23 calories to our body.

Chicory, nutritional values

The following nutritional values correspond to 100 grams of chicory (edible part, leaves).

  • 1,7 g protein
  • G carbohydrates 4,7
  • sugars 0,7 g
  • 0,3 g fat
  • saturated 0,073 g
  • monoinsaturi 0,006 g
  • polyunsaturated 0,131 g
  • cholesterol 0 mg
  • Dietary fiber 4 g
  • Sodium 45 mg
  • Calcium 100 mg
  • Iron 0,9 mg
  • Magnesium 30 mg
  • Phosphorus 47 mg
  • Potassium 420 mg
  • Zinc 0,42 mg
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 24 mg
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1) 0,06 mg
  • Riboflavina (vitamina B2) 0,1 mg
  • Niacin (vitamin B3 or PP) 0,5 mg
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) 1,159 mg
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) 0,105 mg
  • Folati 110 g
  • Dietary folate 110 µg

Here the complete table.

Chicory, food uses

The flowers occur in the spring season, during which the leaves, which were born in autumn and which have resisted the winter, dry up. For medicinal purposes, the leaves are collected before flowering, while the roots chicory are harvested throughout the summer. These parts of the plant are used for the preparation of decoctions and syrups, as well as face creams suitable for combating redness.

The content of some caffeic acid derivatives of chicory has probably led to its use for the preparation of coffee-like drinks, in the absence of the well-known and aromatic beans, in particular in the past centuries and in the war periods of the past decades. The use of chicory roots for the preparation of a coffee substitute drink is traced back to 1600.

From a culinary point of view, the most common use of chicory concerns its leaves, to be added fresh in the preparation of salads. Chicory leaves can be eaten in any case both raw and cooked and their collection is preferable to take place before flowering, as chicory leaves are likely to dry out easily after the flowers appear. In regional cuisine, this ingredient is the protagonist of dishes based on chicory and potatoes and of a special purée of broad beans and chicory, typical of Puglia.

Here are the main ones food uses of chicory, which is used to prepare:

  • Vegetable puree
  • Vegetable side dishes
  • Coffee-like drinks
  • Herbal teas and decoctions
  • Stuffed for savory pies
  • First and second courses
  • Insalate
  • Side dish of chicory and potatoes
  • Sautéed chicory
  • Raw chicory side dish
  • Side dish of cooked chicory
  • Stuffing for ravioli
  • Filling for fresh pasta
  • Seasoning for fresh pasta
  • Seasoning for rice
  • Soups
  • Stuffing for pancakes

Chicory, recipes

Which recipes we can prepare with chicory? The use of chicory in the kitchen recalls the regional and popular tradition, the collection of spontaneous herbs and customs related to country life. Let's find out what are some recipes to easily prepare with chicory.


  • Chicory sauteed in the Roman style
  • Mashed beans and chicory
  • Chard and chicory savory pie
  • Rice and chicory pancakes
  • Rice and chicory pie
  • Meatballs with chicory and potatoes
  • Chicory and chickpea soup
  • Potato and chicory soup
  • Pizzoccheri with beets, chicory and potatoes

Chicory, use as a natural remedy

From fresh chicory leaves a juice From digestive properties. From the chicory leaves left to macerate, a natural decoction against chronic constipation. Ancient populations used chicory to treat the liver and against heartburn.

The main uses of the chicory as a natural remedy are:

  • Syrups
  • Decoctions
  • Soothing creams for the face
  • Juice with digestive properties
  • Laxative remedies
  • Diuretic remedies
  • Remedies to cure the liver
  • Stomach pain remedies
  • Remedies for chronic constipation
  • Bach Flowers

Chicory, Bach Chicory flower

Finally, chicory is used for the realization of Bach flower number 8, Named Chicory. This remedy is considered suitable for those who are very attentive to the needs of others, who tend to take excessive care of friends and relatives and who would always like the people they love near; it is a set of behaviors that can hide aexcessive possessiveness and that could be rebalanced thanks to the use of this Bach flower based on wild chicory.

Chicory, contraindications

Unlike what one might commonly believe, chicory has some contraindications that are important to take into account. Chicory in particular is not recommended in pregnancy because it has autero-stimulating action.

Chicory is contraindicated in case of gastritis or peptic ulcer: the generous presence of inulin makes it not recommended in case of abundant intestinal fermentations. Taken in high doses and for prolonged periods We summarize the main contraindications of chicory:

  • State of pregnancy
  • Taking beta-blocker drugs
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Gallbladder stones
  • Reduction of drug absorption

For any doubts concerning your health and natural remedies, we remind you to always consult your doctor, naturopath or herbalist of trust.

Chicory might have like collateral effect the reduction of the absorption of some drugs especially beta-blockers which are used to lower blood pressure and regulate heart rate. Finally, it can be contraindicated to those suffering from gallbladder stones.

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