Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Chicory: A Crucial Herb for Healing Leaky Gut

    Years ago, I lived in the Williamette valley of western Oregon.  It was July then and all along the road edges bloomed the bright blue flowers of chicory.  I knew little about plants then and even less about medicinal plants, but I loved those blue flowers.  Later I learned that chicory is native to the Mediterranean, but had been brought to America by early settlers.;  they used it as a coffee substitute.  I also learned that the Oregon trail pioneers brought chicory with them;  this included my own Oregon Trail ancestors Job and Elizabeth Hayworth, who came to the Williamette valley in 1847.  

   Chicory is related to dandelion and you can see the toothed edges of the flower petals, just like dandelion.  The roots are full of a water soluble plant fiber called inulin.  The human gut breaks down the inulin into a gelatinous, viscous goo that plays a crucial role in helping the normal bacteria in the gut prosper & flourish.  The inulin also helps clear out toxins, wastes, fat and cholesterol particles.  The end result: colon cancer prevention, healthier cholesterol and blood sugar levels and a healthier immune system.

     Chicory is not the only source of inulin:  foods such as leeks, onons, garlic, artichokes, yams, burdock and asparagas also have inulin.  But chicory root has a very high concentration of inulin so it is very useful.

     My favorite way to get inulin into my system is to take chicory powder - 1 TB daily mixed in juice.  While I can get it in the foods I eat, this powder supplement ensures that I am getting enough.  

     Last week I was on San Juan island;  once again the roadsides were full of chicory, those beautiful blue faces turned to the sun.  It reminded me again of my family history with this plant and also, its fabulous healing gifts.



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