If chicory root is consumed in excess and without any consultation from a doctor, it may have certain negative repercussions on one’s health. This HolisticZine article presents information on chicory root side effects.
The origins of chicory plant can be traced to India, Egypt, and Europe. It was only as late as the nineteenth century that this plant was introduced in the United States of America. Chicory plant grows in temperate climates as a weed, and is cultivated throughout northern Europe where its root is very widely used as a substitute for coffee. Although there are many well-known side effects related to chicory root extract, yet it does not deter people from using it for various purposes in their day-to-day living.
Uses of Chicory Root
- Chicory root is believed to have a calming and soothing effect on people. It acts as a sedative, and helps in minimizing symptoms of stress in a person.
- The root fiber is believed to help immensely in digestive ailments such as constipation and diarrhea.
- Chicory root can have a soothing effect on people suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer and some cardiovascular diseases.
- The root as well as chicory leaves are very popularly used as a vegetable. While the roots are eaten boiled along with butter, the leaves are cooked as a vegetable like spinach, and consumed.
- The root is added to tea or coffee to lend it a bitter taste. Sometimes it is also used as a substitute for coffee.
Chicory Root Extract Side Effects
Leads to Abortion
One of the most serious chicory root fiber side effects is that it induces emmenagogue effects. It means that regular intake of chicory root can stimulate and increase menstruation in a woman. And if the woman is pregnant, its consumption can even lead to an abortion. Thus, chicory root and pregnancy are two things that should never be mixed together, to avoid health complications. Nursing moms should also avoid taking chicory root extract, since there are no sufficient scientific studies to establish its safe use.
Another side effect of chicory root extract is that it can cause contact dermatitis. When a person comes in direct contact with the chicory plant, it can cause skin allergies in him producing symptoms such as skin irritation and itching. Before consuming the extract, the person should check for chicory root allergy.
Chicory root though considered safe to take in most cases, yet if a person is on some kind of drugs or medication, he should consult a doctor first, before including the root in any form in his diet to avoid drug interactions. Especially people who are taking medicines to treat gallbladder diseases should consult a doctor before taking chicory root.
Stimulates Secretion of Bile
Chicory can stimulate the production of bile. Those who have gallbladder problems (gallstones) should avoid the extract.
Harmful for the Eyes
Although there is no scientific evidence to support it, yet according to some folklore, if chicory root is consumed in excess, it can cause eye problems such as blurred vision or even complete loss of vision in some people.
There have been instances where during cultivation, chicory root got contaminated with bacteria and other foreign substances, causing complications in people who consumed them later.
Although chicory is on the GRAS, i.e. Generally Recognized as Safe list of the FDA, still there can be some very serious side effects. Some people might experience these side effects, while for others, consumption of chicory can be completely safe. So, it is better to consult a health care provider first, before including chicory root in one’s diet, especially when one is pregnant or suffering from a health condition or disease.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.