Chicory, the most popular coffee substitute


Chicory has been used for many years as a coffee substitute without caffeine. Chicory coffee not only does not contain caffeine, but it has countless health benefits - here's what it's all about!

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is an herbaceous, perennial, edible plant that belongs to the genus Cichorium in the Asteraceae family. It has been known since antiquity: in ancient Egypt it was cultivated as a medicinal plant, being used to treat hepato-biliary and kidney diseases. Nowadays, the common chicory root is a very popular coffee substitute, and the aerial parts are used for medicinal or culinary purposes (the basal leaves, with a slightly bitter taste, are used in assorted salads, as well as in the preparation of specific French and Italian dishes).

Chicory (perennial herbaceous plant) is generally grown for its roots from which a coffee substitute is extracte.

For medicinal purposes, this plant uses the aerial parts (Herba Cichorii) that are harvested in the first flowering period of the plant, in July-August, when the stems have not yet managed to strengthen, the roots (Radix Cichorii) are harvested in September-October.

Nutritional values of chicory

  • Calories: 73
  • Proteins: 1.33 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Vitamin B6: 12% RDD
  • Vitamin C: 8% RDD
  • Folic acid: 5% RDD.
Values for 100g of chicory, RDD = recommended daily dose.

Chicory root is a rich source of inulin (a prebiotic fiber associated with accelerating the weight loss process, as well as improving intestinal health).

Chicory root inulin is a form of dietary fiber that helps to lose weight, cutting appetite and gives the feeling of satiety. Also, chicory inulin helps intestinal transit and secretion of gastric juices.

Components of chicory stem/ root

Components of chicory stem

  • chicory
  • inulin
  • arginine
  • choline
  • chicory acid
  • levulosis
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • calcium

Components of chicory root

  • lactucine
  • bitter triperpene substances
  • lactucopicrin
  • fructose
  • alpha and beta lactucerol
  • alfa și beta lactucerol
  • tannis
  • volatile oil.

Benefits and properties of chicory

  • chicory can be a successful coffee substitute;
  • successfully used in furunculosis and acne;
  • chicory improves digestive health: biliary dyskinesia, chronic constipation, angiculitis. The high inulin content in the root helps maintain intestinal health;
  • chicory helps in chronic hepatitis;
  • coffee made from chicory has gastric properties;
  • chicory can reduce blood sugar, thus preventing diabetes;
  • chicory lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, thus protecting the heart;
  • chicory is used to cleanse / purify the blood, but also the liver;
  • chicory is anti-inflammatory;
  • chicory can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis: polyphenols in chicory root fight inflammation caused by osteoarthritis;
  • chicory can support weight loss: chicory root fibers can regulate appetite and inhibit intestinal absorption;
  • chicory stimulates bile production;
  • chicory has antibacterial and antifungal properties;
  • chicory is an antioxidant and inhibits free radicals;
  • chicory gently calms the nervous system;
  • chicory coffee prevents thrombosis;
  • chicory coffee preserves the health of the oral cavity.

Contraindications of chicory

Consumed in excess, chicory can also bring some negative effects such as:

  • its fibers can cause gas and bloating;
  • increases menstrual flow at women.

How to get chicory coffee

Chicory can be grown right in your garden. Chicory roots are harvested in September-October: they are removed from the ground, washed, dried, chopped and then baked in the oven. The powder obtained from the chicory root is boiled, just like coffee is made and that's it.

How to make a chicory coffee

Put 1 teaspoon of chicory (1.5g) in a cup and add 100ml of hot water. You can add milk, tea or spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom etc.). However, if you are having your first chicory root coffee, it is recommended to start with ½ teaspoon of chicory in a cup of water (~ 100ml). Chicory coffee tastes somewhat woody, similar to coffee, but not exactly the same.

Decoction: boil in 200 ml. of water two teaspoons of chopped root, 5 minutes, drink warm in three portions before main meals.


Beneficial effects:

  • diuretic and hypoglycemic laxative,
  • eupeptic-bitter and cholagogue,
  • antithyroid and depurative,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • prevents diabetes,
  • supports weight loss,
  • stimulates bile production,
  • stimulates digestion,
  • antibacterial and antifungal,
  • neutralizes intestinal parasites,
  • lowers cholesterol and triglycerides,
  • lowers blood sugar,
  • cleanses the liver and spleen,
  • detoxifies the body,
  • gently calms the nervous system,
  • inhibits appetite,
  • keeps the intestines healthy,
  • reduces joint inflammation,
  • preserves the health of the oral cavity.

Side effects:

  • its fibers can cause gas and bloating when consumed in excess;
  • increased menstrual flow.


  • not recommended for pregnant women, as it can trigger bleeding or even miscarriage;
  • not recommended for people generally allergic to birch pollen.
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