Chicory (Cichorium intybus
) is an erect, woody perennial herb, that is historically known for its use as a coffee substitute in many countries. Different preparations of chicory are used to treat various symptoms and ailments in traditional medicines. Over 100 individual compounds have been isolated from C. intybus
. The roots contain up to 40% inulin, a natural food component used to increase dietary fiber, replace fats or carbohydrates, and acts as a useful prebiotic to stimulate beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) system.
Chicory also contains chicoric acid, which is a major compound in methanolic extracts. Chicoric acid has shown vasorelaxant activity against nor-epinephrine-induced contractions in isolated rat aorta strips. The flowers of chicory contain saccharides, methoxycoumarin cichorine, flavonoids, essential oils, and anthocyanins contributing to the blue color of the perianth. Specific applications studied in poultry include:
- Liver protection: A study conducted in rats administered extracts of dried chicory demonstrated that it might possess significant protection for the liver.
- Gut improvement:
A study conducted on young broiler chickens revealed that adding 60-120 g/kg of chicory forage to their diet was beneficial for the gastrointestinal system.
Different parts of chicory were found to be active against different pathogenic microorganisms.
- Seed extract: Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Candida
- Root extracts: Bacillus subtilis, S. aureus, Salmonella typhi, Micrococcus luteus, and E. coli
- Leaf extract: S. typhi