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Plant Profiler

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Synonyms / Common Names/ Related Terms
Achicoria, achicoria amarga, almeirao, asparagus, Asteraceae, barbe de capucin, Belgian endive, beta-D-fructofuranosidase, blaue Wegwarte, blue dandelion, blue sailors, Brunswick, Chichorii Herba, chicon, cichorei, cicoria radicchio, Cichorium, Cichorium bottae, Cichorium calvum, Cichorium endiva, Cichorium intybus, Cichorium pumilum, Cichorium spinosum, Chicorii Radix, chicory acids, chicory extracts, chicory fructooligosaccharides, chicory inulin, chicory inulin hydrolysate, chicory roots, cikoria, cikorie, coffeeweed, common chicory, common chicory root, common endive, Compositae, ctchorium, curly endive, dahlia extract, endive, escarole, FOS, French endive, fructo-oligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, garden chicory, Hendibeh, Hindiba, Hinduba, Italian dandelion, inulin hydrolysate, Kasani, Kasni, Kiku-Niga-Na, Magdeburg, oligofructose, oligosaccharides, prebiotic, radichetta, radicchio, sativum, SC-FOS, short chain fructo-oligosaccharides, succory, watcher of the road, wild chicory, wilde cichorei, wild succory, witloof chicory, zikorifa.

Mechanism of Action
  • Constituents: The active compounds in chicory are inulin, sesquiterpene lactones, vitamins, minerals, fat, mannitol and latex. Fructans have been extracted from chicory roots.10
  • The postulated biosynthesis of sesquiterpene lactones through the mevalonate-farnesyl diphosphate-germacradiene pathway has been confirmed by the isolation of a (+)-germacrene A synthase from chicory roots.11
  • Chemical constituents of Cichorium intybus L. were identified as alpha-amyrin, taraxerone, baurenyl acetate and beta-sitosterol.12 Inulooligosaccharides (IOS) production from chicory extract was carried out using endoinulinase obtained from a new isolate, Xanthomonas oryzae No. 5.13 Twelve compounds were isolated from the root of Cichorium intybus including 2, 3, 4, 9-tetrahydro-1H-pyrido-(3,4-b)indole-3-carboxylic acid.14
  • Antiallergic effects: Cichorium intybus inhibits mast cell-mediated immediate-type allergic reactions in vivo and in vitro.15
  • Antihyperlipidemic effects: Inulin decreases serum triglycerides by decreasing fatty acid synthesis and reducing production of low density lipoproteins (VLDL).7
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: Chicory has been found to inhibit prostaglandin E(2) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2).1
  • Antineoplastic effects: Chicory derived beta (2-1) fructans have been shown to exert cancer protective effects in animal models.16,3
  • Chicory fructan supplements inhibit aberrant crypt foci formation, an early preneoplastic marker of malignant potential in the process of colon Carcinogenesis.17
  • Calcium homeostasis activity: The leaves of chicory maintain calcium levels by heterologous expression of total RNA.2,5,18
  • Cytochrome P450 activity: Chicory is known to contain guaianolides, eudesmanolides, and germacranolides. The biosynthesis of these sesquiterpene lactones are involved with the cytochrome P450 enzyme.9,19
  • Fecal bulking properties: Inulin and oligofructose are considered dietary fibers. They share the basic common characteristics of dietary fibers including saccharides of plant origin, resistance to digestion and absorption in the small intestine, and fermentation in the colon to produce short-chain fatty acids that are absorbed and metabolized in various parts of the body. Moreover, this fermentation induced by difidobacteria has a bulking effect.20 Fermentation of inulin decreases fecal pH and increases fecal volume.8
  • Hypoglycemic effect: One animal study concluded dietary inulin-type fructans extracted from chicory root may modulate the production of peptides, such as incretins, by endocrine cells present in the intestinal mucosa. This effect may play a role in the management of obesity and diabetes through their capacity to promote secretion of endogenous gastrointestinal peptides involved in appetite regulation.4
  • Immunostimulatory activity: Oligofructose and inulin, selective fermentable chicory fructans, have been shown to stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria, which are regarded as beneficial strains in the colon.21,22,23
  • Chicory and mannan-oligosaccharide (MOS) alter fecal microbial populations and certain indices of the immune system.24
  • Mutagenic properties: Chicory powder has shown very weak mutagenic activity of commonly consumed food dishes in South India.25
  • Prebiotic effect: One clinical trial assessed the prebiotic effect of an Fn-type chicory inulin hydrolysate product.6 The F is for fructose and the n is the number of b(2->1) bound fructose moieties. Eight subjects (5 females and 3 males) consumed 8g daily of an Fn-rich chicory inulin product for up to 5 weeks. Fecal samples were collected and analyzed for total anaerobes, bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, bacteroides, coliforms and Clostridium perfringens. Both 2 and 5-week of oligofructose feeding resulted in a selective increase in bifidobacteria (p< 0.01). A daily intake of 8g of Fn-type oligofructose preparation reduced fecal pH and caused little intestinal discomfort.

  1. Cavin, C., Delannoy, M., Malnoe, A., Debefve, E., Touche, A., Courtois, D., and Schilter, B. Inhibition of the expression and activity of cyclooxygenase-2 by chicory extract. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2-18-2005;327(3):742-749. 15649409
  2. Bischoff, T. A., Kelley, C. J., Karchesy, Y., Laurantos, M., Nguyen-Dinh, P., and Arefi, A. G. Antimalarial activity of lactucin and lactucopicrin: sesquiterpene lactones isolated from Cichorium intybus L. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;95(2-3):455-457. 15507374
  3. Hughes, R. and Rowland, I. R. Stimulation of apoptosis by two prebiotic chicory fructans in the rat colon. Carcinogenesis 2001;22(1):43-47. 11159739
  4. Delzenne, N. M., Cani, P. D., Daubioul, C., and Neyrinck, A. M. Impact of inulin and oligofructose on gastrointestinal peptides. Br J Nutr 2005;93 Suppl 1:S157-S161. 15877889
  5. Debarbieux-Deleporte, M., Delbreil, B., Collin, T., Delcourt, P., Vasseur, J., Prevarskaya, N., and Ouadid-Ahidouch, H. InsP(3)-mediated calcium release induced by heterologous expression of total chicory Leaf RNA. Biol Cell 2002;94(7-8):545-552. 12566227
  6. Menne, E., Guggenbuhl, N., and Roberfroid, M. Fn-type chicory inulin hydrolysate has a prebiotic effect in humans. J Nutr 2000;130(5):1197-1199. 10801918
  7. Williams, C. M. Effects of inulin on lipid parameters in humans. J Nutr 1999;129(7 Suppl):1471S-1473S. 10395623
  8. Roberfroid, M. B., Van Loo, J. A., and Gibson, G. R. The bifidogenic nature of chicory inulin and its hydrolysis products. J Nutr 1998;128(1):11-19. 9430596
  9. de Kraker, J. W., Franssen, M. C., Joerink, M., de Groot, A., and Bouwmeester, H. J. Biosynthesis of costunolide, dihydrocostunolide, and leucodin. Demonstration of cytochrome p450-catalyzed formation of the lactone ring present in sesquiterpene lactones of chicory. Plant Physiol 2002;129(1):257-268. 12011356
  10. Finke, B., Stahl, B., Pritschet, M., Facius, D., Wolfgang, J., and Boehm, G. Preparative continuous annular chromatography (P-CAC) enables the large-scale fractionation of fructans. J Agric Food Chem 8-14-2002;50(17):4743-4748. 12166954
  11. de Kraker, J. W., Franssen, M. C., de Groot, A., Konig, W. A., and Bouwmeester, H. J. (+)-Germacrene A biosynthesis . The committed step in the biosynthesis of bitter sesquiterpene lactones in chicory. Plant Physiol 1998;117(4):1381-1392. 9701594
  12. Du, H., Yuan, S., and Jiang, P. [Chemical constituents of Cichorium intybus L.]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 1998;23(11):682-3, 704. 11599348
  13. Cho, Y. J., Sinha, J., Park, J. P., and Yun, J. W. Production of inulooligosaccharides from chicory extract by endoinulinase from Xanthomonas oryzae No. 5. Enzyme Microb Technol 3-8-2001;28(4-5):439-445. 11240203
  14. He, Y., Guo, Y. J., and Gao, Y. Y. [Studies on chemical constituents of root of Cichorium intybus]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2002;27(3):209-210. 12774404
  15. Kim, H. M., Kim, H. W., Lyu, Y. S., Won, J. H., Kim, D. K., Lee, Y. M., Morii, E., Jippo, T., Kitamura, Y., and An, N. H. Inhibitory effect of mast cell-mediated immediate-type allergic reactions by Cichorium intybus. Pharmacol Res 1999;40(1):61-65. 10378992
  16. Pool-Zobel, B. L. Inulin-type fructans and reduction in colon cancer risk: review of experimental and human data. Br J Nutr 2005;93 Suppl 1:S73-S90. 15877900
  17. Reddy, B. S., Hamid, R., and Rao, C. V. Effect of dietary oligofructose and inulin on colonic preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci inhibition. Carcinogenesis 1997;18(7):1371-1374. 9230282
  18. Debarbieux, M., Ouadid-Ahidouch, H., Delpierre, N., Vasseur, J., and Prevarskaya, N. A calcium homeostasis mechanism induced by heterologous expression of total RNA from chicory leaves in Xenopus oocytes. J Membr Biol 1-1-1999;167(1):25-33. 9878072
  19. de Kraker, J. W., Franssen, M. C., Dalm, M. C., de Groot, A., and Bouwmeester, H. J. Biosynthesis of germacrene A carboxylic acid in chicory roots. Demonstration of a cytochrome P450 (+)-germacrene a hydroxylase and NADP+-dependent sesquiterpenoid dehydrogenase(s) involved in sesquiterpene lactone biosynthesis. Plant Physiol 2001;125(4):1930-1940. 11299372
  20. Flamm, G., Glinsmann, W., Kritchevsky, D., Prosky, L., and Roberfroid, M. Inulin and oligofructose as dietary fiber: a review of the evidence. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2001;41(5):353-362. 11497328
  21. Chow, J. Probiotics and prebiotics: A brief overview. J Ren Nutr 2002;12(2):76-86. 11953920
  22. Reddy, B. S. Possible mechanisms by which pro- and prebiotics influence colon Carcinogenesis and tumor growth. J Nutr 1999;129(7 Suppl):1478S-1482S. 10395625
  23. Reddy, B. S. Prevention of colon cancer by pre- and probiotics: evidence from laboratory studies. Br J Nutr 1998;80(4):S219-S223. 9924288
  24. Grieshop, C. M., Flickinger, E. A., Bruce, K. J., Patil, A. R., Czarnecki-Maulden, G. L., and Fahey, G. C., Jr. Gastrointestinal and immunological responses of senior dogs to chicory and mannan-oligosaccharides. Arch Anim Nutr 2004;58(6):483-493. 15732581
  25. Sivaswamy, S. N., Balachandran, B., Balanehru, S., and Sivaramakrishnan, V. M. Mutagenic activity of south Indian food items. Indian J Exp Biol 1991;29(8):730-737. 1769715

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