Downsides Chicory

Class 1 (AHP). No health hazards or side effects known with proper therapeutic dosages (PH2). Commission E reports contraindications of hypersensitivity to chicory and other Asteraceae and adverse effects of rare allergic skin reactions. Patients with bile-stones or gallstones should first consult a physician (AEH; KOM). Cadot et al. (1996) report a first case of occupational allergy to chicory (Cichorium intybus) in a vegetable wholesaler. Symptoms occurred after oral, cutaneous, or inhalatory exposure. The patient also reported reactions after ingestion of botanically related endive (Cichorium endivia) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa). They identified the responsible allergen by SDS-PAGE and immunoblot to be a 48-kDa protein, confined to the nonilluminated parts of the plants. No cross-reactivity was found with mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), ryegrass (Lolium perenne), or birch (Betula verrucosa) pollen, which suggests that the vegetable is the primary allergenic material. Carcinogens, viz. 1,2-benzoperylene; 3,4,benzopyrone; and floranthene occur in chicory, increasing on roasting, especially above 175 F° (WOI). Ingestion of 100 g may cause slight bradycardia.

Extracts (Chicory):

Industrial source of fructose, inulin, oligofructose, and the sugar enhancer, maltol (APA; JAD). Cichoric acid was recently heralded as very important in immunomodulation and antiviral activity, even anti-HIV. The compound lactucin and to a lesser extent lactucopicrin are CNS-sedative and can antagonize the stimulation of caffeine (BIB). Lactucin and lactucopicrin proved to be antimalarial compounds in chicory, folklorically regarded for malaria in Afghanistan (X15507374). The guaiano-lide 8-deoxylactucin is a key inhibitor of COX-2 expression (X15649409). Italians are producing circa 250,000 tons of red chicories a year, 100-g servings of which can provide as much as 130 mg antho-cyanins and 650 mg total phenolics, scavenging highly reactive oxidants in the stomach, benefitting age-associated oxidative stress, and improving neuronal and cognitive brain function (X16218660).

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