What is Chicory Extract?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Chicory extract is a product that is often used as a food additive or as a supplement in a high-fiber diet. It is made by first drying and grinding chicory root. The resulting product is then mixed with water, which helps to filter out all of the soluble materials. Chicory root extract is rich in inulin, which is a naturally occurring polysaccharide that belongs to a class of naturally occurring plant fibers.

Chicory extract is believed to help cleanse the gall bladder and liver.
Chicory extract is believed to help cleanse the gall bladder and liver.

For many people chicory is synonymous with coffee substitutes. Although it has a taste similar to coffee, chicory does not contain caffeine. While many people do use chicory as a coffee substitute, this is just the use of chicory granules, not the extract that can be taken from the plant. The extract is used quite differently than the granules.

Chicory extract may be used as a dietary supplement as part of a high-fiber diet.
Chicory extract may be used as a dietary supplement as part of a high-fiber diet.

This extract has a number of uses. It can be used to treat a number of ailments including stiff joints, rheumatism, upset stomach, and gout. It is also believed to help cleanse the liver, kidneys, and gall bladder, and to work well as a diuretic and laxative. Some people also use chicory extract because they believe that it helps to cleanse the blood. In fact, it is believed that for thousands of years this extract has been used as a purifying tonic intended to cleanse the blood.

Chicory extract may be used to treat an upset stomach.
Chicory extract may be used to treat an upset stomach.

Chicory extract is especially useful for those who need to counteract the effects of eating too much rich food, especially food that leads to an excess of stomach acid. There are also recent studies that indicate that chicory extract may be used to help fight fat. If the indications of these studies are confirmed to be true, not only will this extract be useful for people who are trying to lose weight, but it will also be good for the heart. By fighting fat, the blood cholesterol levels can decrease, which is good for the heart. Chicory extract is also sometimes used to help control a rapid heartbeat.

As with all natural and homeopathic remedies, it is important to use chicory extract only after consulting a medical professional. Heart and stomach conditions as well as rheumatism and joint pain can be very serious and should be addressed by a trained physician. After such a consultation, chicory extract can be used as long as the medical professional believes that it will be helpful and that it will not negatively interact with any present medications or other medical conditions.

Chicory extract should only be used after consulting with a physician.
Chicory extract should only be used after consulting with a physician.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

burcidi

I read that chicory root used to be used as a contraceptive in the old days. If women have it, they could have problems with their menstruation and pregnant women can have a miscarriage!

I am so shocked to hear this because I have been taking the extract for the last two weeks. I am taking it for extra fiber and the weight loss benefits but I am now worried about the possible effects. If I keep taking it and I don't have irregular menstruation, does that mean I'm tolerating well? Or should I stop taking it just in case?

discographer

@turquoise-- I don't know about the other extracts but I had read about a study that was done on chicory extract and arthritis.

Chicory extract is very good for inflammation which happens in joints if there is arthritis. So chicory extract helps relieve inflammation, swelling and stiffness in those areas.

It's a good extract to manage the pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.

turquoise

It sounds like chicory extract has many similar benefits to celery seed extract. Celery seed extract is said to treat rheumatism and arthritis, and is a diuretic as well.

Has anyone tried both of these extracts and can compare them in terms of benefits and cost?

I am looking for supplements that can help with my arthritis and I'm a little confused with the choices. In what way is chicory extract superior to other supplements for arthritis?

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