Chicory can not only be used as a coffee substitute, but as a medicinal plant it can also reduce many health problems. It effectively inhibits inflammation and diabetes, and also has high antioxidant activity that protects against cell damage and DNA mutations caused by free radicals.
Chicory (cichorium intybus), also known as chicory, is a medicinal plant that has long been used traditionally to treat various medical conditions and was named Medicinal Plant of the Year in 2020.
Traditional medicinal use
Chicory extracts were used, for example, to treat hemorrhoids, fever, headaches, stomach disorders and eye problems. It is also known that chicory helps with loss of appetite and dystopian complaints.
Antioxidant effect of chicory
In addition, a recent study published in the English-language journal Nutrients reported that various key components of Chicory serve an extremely important role as antioxidants for human health.
According to the researchers, this antioxidant activity is due to ingredients such as inulin, caffeic acid derivatives, ferulic acid, caftaric acid, chicory, chlorogenic and isochlorogenic acid, dicaffeoyltartaric acid, proteins, hydroxycoumarins, flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones.
Protection against free radicals
Antioxidants protect against so-called free radicals, which are naturally formed by the body during various metabolic processes. However, it is also possible for free radicals to be produced, for example, by cigarette smoke, environmental toxins or UV radiation from the sun.
Free radicals trigger oxidative stress and can initiate a chain reaction that can lead to partially irreparable damage to cells, tissues and even DNA. When free radicals induce molecular changes in DNA, mutations and other damage occur that can result in various degenerative diseases.
33 polyphenols in chicory extract
Another current research study confirms the antioxidant activity of chicory. Experts examined the bioactive profile of various chicory root extracts to determine the total flavonoid content and the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of the medicinal plant.
The team found that chicory root extracts contain a total of 33 different polyphenols, including many from a subgroup called flavonoids, which are thought to be particularly beneficial to health.
The team reports that the broad spectrum of beneficial ingredients is associated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic effects, among other things.
The researchers add that chicory extracts may provide the basis for herbal medicines to treat disorders associated with oxidative stress and inflammation.
Natural protection against free radicals
Taken together, the results make it clear that chicory, thanks to its ingredients, can contribute in particular to protection against free radicals and inflammation, which reduces the risk of numerous serious diseases. (as)