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A herbaceous plant with blue flowers, chicory belongs to the Asteraceae family. The chicory plant can reach a height of one and a half meters and its flowers are pentamers, hermaphrodites and tetra-cyclicals and they hatch daily with sunlight and then close again in the dark. The spring period is the ideal time for the collection of chicory to eat. In the kitchen its use is frequent especially in the preparation of soups and side dishes and dates back to the ancient eating habits of the Arab peoples. To try, it is the puree of fava beans and chicory, typical of the regional cuisine of Puglia. Along with its slightly bitter taste, stronger if you eat the inner leaves, chicory offers many benefits to the organism, especially in terms of purification. In fact, it is fortunate that spring is the main harvesting season. In the months immediately following winter, in fact, everyone feels the need to get back in shape to lose those extra pounds accumulated during the winter, a period in which the cold pushes them to eat much more. Furthermore, not everyone knows that chicory roots can be used in the kitchen. If roasted, in fact, they become grains that, used as coffee beans, give life to a drink with a particular taste but that comes close to that of the famous black drink, so much so that in the 1970s in Germany, where the famous "coffee crisis", the toasted chicory root was used just as a coffee substitute. However, the earliest use of the root for the preparation of chicory coffee dates back to the early 19th century in France. The root of the plant, then, is known to be an excellent food for diabetics. Consumed both as a fresh vegetable and in the form of infusions and herbal teas, chicory is able to help those who have problems with digestion, thanks to its laxative effect. Alongside the real benefits that the plant has for health, ancient popular beliefs tell that chicory has magical effects that confer invulnerability and make one feel pleasure.

The benefits of chicory

Chicory has a low caloric intake and this makes it possible to consume it in large quantities without having side effects on weight and on the line, helping to maintain an ideal weight. The purifying and laxative effects already mentioned, in fact, make it a perfect plant to cleanse the body, deflate it and regain a good relationship with its appearance. Chicory stimulates the good functioning of intestines, kidneys and liver. If eaten seasoned with chilli, chicory is also able to act against cellulite and water retention, avoiding the appearance of unsightly orange peel. Among the other substances possessed by chicory, there are various vitamins and mineral salts, such as iron and magnesium. The usefulness of the plant in question for diabetics is its inulin content, a carbohydrate polymer that reduces the level of glucose in the blood. Another beneficial effect of chicory is the cardiovascular system. To be precise, chicory has cardiotonic effects: it is able to regulate the frequency of the heartbeat. The chicory-based extracts, in terms of gel or ointments, are excellent for treating inflammation of the eyes; furthermore, curative effects for these pathologies can also be obtained through packs prepared with an infusion of chicory leaves.

To take advantage of the beneficial properties of chicory you need to know the homeopathic preparations created with the plant. Most of these preparations are obtained using the leaves and the root, especially its pulp. Syrups, herbal teas and creams are produced, each with specific effects. If you do not want to resort to herbal medicine and products already on the market, you can use DIY and prepare excellent infusions or decoctions at home, starting from the leaves or roots of the plant. A chicory-based herbal tea will be prepared easily by boiling fresh or dried chicory leaves in boiling water and then filtering the liquid obtained. Drinking one cup a day will promote normal intestinal regularity. Furthermore, to obtain a purifying effect, it will be enough to drink a cup of decoction prepared before each meal by boiling 5-6 grams of chicory root in about 100 ml of water.
A longer procedure is necessary to prepare a decoction using the root and wine instead of water. Soaking just a couple of grams of root in 100 ml of wine and letting it soak for ten days, in fact, you will get what is called vinous tincture (or medicinal wine). Also in this case, the liquid mixture will have purifying effects but it will be enough to take just a tablespoon before meals.