Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to chicory or members of the Asteraceae or Compositae family, including ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds and daisies. Chicory may cross-react with birch pollen and cause birch pollen-associated allergy syndrome. Occupational asthma has been reported in a chicory grower.
Side Effects and Warnings
There has been long-standing historical use of chicory with few adverse effects noted anecdotally or in the available scientific literature. Chicory appears to be generally well-tolerated, but skin rash and contact dermatitis have been reported with its use. Weight loss, loss of appetite, and myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome) associated with chicory have also been reported. Chicory is likely safe when consumed as a food additive.
Skin rash and contact dermatitis associated with chicory use have been reported. The sesquiterpene lactones of the plant may be the allergens. Also, the caffeic acid derivatives from Cichorium intybus have displayed vasorelaxant activity.
Chicory use should be monitored in patients with gallstones, due to its bile stimulating effect. Fructo-oligosaccharides can cause flatulence (gas), belching, abdominal pains, intestinal sounds and bloating, which occur commonly, but are mild.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Chicory is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. When taken by mouth during pregnancy, chicory may induce menstruation or miscarriage.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for chicory in adults. Common doses that have been traditionally used range from 4-14 grams for treating constipation and hypertriglyceridermia, and for a probiotic effect. Doses as high as 30 grams daily have been taken by mouth to improve bowel function. Chicory tea, prepared by steeping 2-4 grams of the root in 150 milliliters boiling water for 10 minutes and then strained, has also been used. A common dose of chicory is 3-6 grams of root per day.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for chicory in children.
Interactions with Drugs
Chicory may interact with drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be decreased in the blood, and reduce the intended effects. Patients taking any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Chicory extract (inulin) may marginally increase the absorption of dietary calcium.
Theoretically, chicory may interact with herbs and supplements metabolized by cytochrome P450. As a result, the levels of herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements may possibly have on the P450 system.