Common chicory, also called succory, is a wild herb with lavender flowers. Occasionally, the flowers can be white or pink. The herb is also known by a few other names such as - blue sailors, endive, blue dandelion, and coffee weed. This perennial herb is native to England, but is now naturalized throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Chicory is mainly cultivated for its leaves and roots. Despite the chicory root's side effects, its usage is immensely popular as a substitute for coffee, especially in England and in the Mediterranean countries.
One of the most probable chicory root extract side effects is contact dermatitis. Accompanying that, many have complained of skin allergies such as hives, itching, and skin irritation. These side effects are observed most when a person comes in direct contact with the root. The root's extracts are also available in the form of chocolate bars that come in different flavors. Now, these bars help reduce the craving of sweetness and are supposed to be good in lowering cholesterol, however, a few on-line reviews state that they initiate insane amounts of flatulence and abdominal discomfort. One review stated that there could be a possibility of chocolate enhancing the effects of the root, thus making them both a strong combination, though there is no study to prove that fact.
A few chicory root's side effects were also observed in nursing women. The plant's roots are considered to be emmenagogue in nature, which means, chicory root consumption can cause untimely menstruation. On the other hand, chicory extract was also found to be causing contraceptive and abortive effects in female rats that were tested upon to check the side effects of the root fibers. The aforementioned chicory root side effects are not definitive and may vary greatly from person to person.
Caution: People suffering from gallstones or other gallbladder diseases, need to be extremely cautious while consuming chicory root extract. No drug interactions with chicory root is documented yet, however, those consuming any kind of medication on a regular basis, must consult their health care provider before having chicory root. To stay away from any possible side effects, breastfeeding or pregnant women should first consult their health care provider to learn if it is alright for them to incorporate the root in their diet.
Chicory Root Uses
Chicory roots and leaves are predominantly used in cuisines, while the leaves specifically are used as vegetable in salads and in various other food recipes. Chicory roots are first roasted, ground, and then brewed to be used as a substitute for coffee beans. Those who cultivate chicory, treat the roots specially during fall and winter, in order to produce two different types of leaves, the 'Barbe de capucin' and the 'French endive' (witloof). Boiled chicory root is consumed with butter, while roasted roots are used for increasing the bitterness of tea and coffee. Chicory roots and seeds are used as sedatives and are also said to be probiotic. They also provide relief from a few medical conditions like constipation, diarrhea, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, loss of appetite, etc.
According to folklore, the chicory root side effects due to long term exposure may involve blurry vision or total loss of vision. However, there is no significant backing to this traditional notion. Nonetheless, anything taken in moderation is bound to be accepted by the human body without displaying side-effects, and that's the secret to being able to taste everything on your platter.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.