Chicory

What other names is Chicory known by?

Achicoria, Barbe de Capucin, Blue Sailors, Cheveux de Paysans, Chicorée, Chicorée Amère, Chicorée Sauvage, Cichorii Herba, Cichorium intybus, Cichorii Radix, Common Chicory Root, Écoubette, Hendibeh, Herbe à Café, Hinduba, Kasani, Kasni, Racine de Chicorée Commune, Succory, Wild Chicory, Wild Endive, Yeux de Chat.

What is Chicory?

Chicory is a plant. Its roots and dried, above-ground parts are used to make medicine.

Chicory is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, liver and gallbladder disorders, cancer, and rapid heartbeat.

It is also used as a "tonic," to increase urine production, to protect the liver, and to balance the stimulant effect of coffee.

Some people apply a paste of chicory leaves directly to the skin for swelling and inflammation.

In foods, chicory leaves are often eaten like celery, and the roots and leaf buds are boiled and eaten. Chicory is also used as a cooking spice and to flavor foods and beverages. Coffee mixes often include ground chicory to enhance the richness of the coffee.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of chicory for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Chicory work?

Chicory root has a mild laxative effect, increases bile from the gallbladder, and decreases swelling. Chicory is a rich source of beta-carotene.

Are there safety concerns?

Chicory is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when consumed in amounts found in food.

Chicory is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Handling the chicory plant might cause skin irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking chicory by mouth in large amounts is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy. Chicory might start menstruation and cause a miscarriage.

Not enough is known about the safety of using chicory during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Chicory allergy: If you are allergic to chicory, don't take it by mouth or handle it.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Chicory may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking chicory.

Gallstones: Chicory can stimulate the production of bile. This could be a problem for people with gallstones. Don't use chicory without medical supervision if you have gallstones.

Dosing considerations for Chicory.

The appropriate dose of chicory for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for chicory. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011

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