I’m not a coffee drinker, although I know many people who are. There is plenty of information available, about whether this popular, and addictive, hot drink is healthy to consume, or not. I’m not going to take sides.
However, for those coffee drinkers who would like a healthy substitute, chicory root tea is a great option. Whether coffee is your thing or not, check out the healing properties of chicory root.
What is Chicory Root?
Chicory is a perennial herb, in the dandelion family. The plant has bright blue flowers. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, which are called endive, but the roots are ground and used for baking and, most popularly, as a coffee substitute. Chicory root is fibrous and it’s not digested in the small intestine but instead maintains its form as is travels through the large intestine.
The chicory plant originated in Egypt. It’s thought that coffee mixed with ground chicory root began in Holland, becoming popular across Europe about 1801. In France it’s been a popular addition to coffee since the 19th century. Chicory root is used traditionally as a tea or in medicinal remedies to treat jaundice, liver enlargement, gout and rheumatism.
The roots are high in fiber and protein and contain vitamins B6 and C, along with manganese and potassium.
Healing Benefits of Chicory Root
Adding a cup of chicory root tea daily to the diet provides these benefits:
• Reduces stress by lowering caffeine levels. One of the main ingredients in coffee is caffeine, which aggravates symptoms of stress. Consuming less caffeine, by substituting chicory root tea for coffee, lowers epinephrine and cortisol levels during sleep and stressful life situations.
• Reduces inflammation throughout the body. Because it is the root cause of many diseases, lowering inflammation can stave off many health problems before they even have the chance to start.
• Cleanses and protects the liver and the gallbladder. Chicory root inhibits the formation of gallstones. It gently detoxifies the body without overtaxing the adrenal glands. And it contributes to many of the chemical functions that the liver is responsible for.
• Can prevent the onset of diabetes as well as improve bowel movements due to its fibrous content.
• Eases the pain and stiffness of arthritic symptoms, especially degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis.
• Chicory root contains inulin, which is a prebiotic. Prebiotics promote the growth of helpful probiotics in the digestive system and enhance calcium absorption.
How to Use Chicory Root
This herbal supplement is available in capsule form, dried to use as tea, and roasted and ground as a coffee substitute.
Chicory is more water soluble than coffee, which means less is used when brewing it with coffee or in place of it. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of chicory in one cup of hot water, brew and adjust according to personal taste.
To brew basic chicory coffee, use 2/3 part ground coffee to 1/3 part chicory. Brew as normal in a drip coffee maker. Add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or star anise to chicory root tea or chicory coffee for more flavor.
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