What are the benefits of a chicory-
based coffee alternative?

Throughout history, chicory has been celebrated for its digestive virtues. From the Ancient Greeks to the Egyptians, it was used to strengthen the heart and digestive tract, to relieve liver ailments (jaundice, colic, biliary stasis), urinary afflictions, hives, eczema, edemas or bruising and fever. The secret is in the fiber in chicory: it has prebiotic characteristics which stimultate the good bacteria in your intestinal flora!

Furthermore, according to long-held beliefs AND recent clinical studies, chicory has a sedative effect which helps relieve sleep disorders, one of the most common side effects of caffeine.

Historical Vignette

From the Ancient Greeks to the Egyptians, chicory was used to strengthen the heart and digestive tract, to relieve liver ailments, urinary ailments, hives, eczema, bruising and fever.

In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte blockaded the ports of Europe, cutting off the supply of coffee. At that time the enterprising young Dr. Kneipp began commercially packaging a product made by


generations of frugal farmers who would roast chicory root and burn bread.

Mixed with hot water, the result was not only an economical beverage but also a healthier one.

You know that caffeine can create a physical dependence. Too often though, we forget that coffee also makes us "psychologically dependent" by shaping our everyday routine. For many of us, starting off our day on the right foot is unthinkable without a cup of coffee. Furthermore, the caffeine in many foods adds up. Take a look at the caffeine content in selected foods:

FoodApproximate caffeine content
Coffee, 180mL Styrofoam cup 60 - 135 mg
Black tea, 180mL cup 70 - 100 mg
Cola soft drink, 355mL can45 mg
Green tea, 180mL cup 25 mg
Ice tea, 355mL can 35 mg
Hot chocolate, 180mL cup 13 mg
Dark chocolate, 30g piece25 mg
Milk chocolate, 30g piece8 mg
Chocolate bar, 60g (best-selling brands)5 - 15 mg


  • Caffeine acts as a cardiovascular system stimulant. It causes the acceleration of the cardiac rhythm which may result in heart palpitations and increased arterial tension.
  • Caffeine increases blood glucose levels in diabetics when consumed after a meal (250 mg or 1 to 2 cups of coffee).
  • Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. Excessive consumption can provoke secondary effects in certain people: insomnia, headache, irritability, and nervousness.
  • Caffeine increases stomach gastric acids and can aggravate gastro-oesophageal reflux and stomach ulcers. Avoid decaffeinated coffee as it contains methylxanthines, known to increase stomach acid secretions.
  • Caffeine causes an increase in urine production. This effect can be harmful for those suffering from urinary incontinence or prostate problems.
  • Caffeine diminishes our fatigue perception threshold. It causes delays in falling asleep, inhibits deep sleep, and renders waking more difficult.
  • Overconsumption of caffeine increases the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.
  • Caffeine can be detected in breast milk one to three hours after consumption. It can accumulate in the baby’s body and affect sleep patterns.
  • Caffeine decreases the absorption of calcium by the intestines and increases calcium loss through urine and stool. Additionally, tea and coffee contain tannins that inhibit iron absorption.
  • Caffeine can interact with certain foods and medications such as oral contraceptives, oestrogens and alcohol. Consult your pharmacist if you take any medications.

Excerpts from the article “THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE ON HEALTH” written by Hélène Baribeau, M.Sc., P.Dt. Dietician-Nutritionist.

Hélène Baribeau is the author of the book Mieux manger pour être au top, a TV and radio commentator for over 15 years, blogger and consultant for the website Passeport Santé, as well as a lecturer at many conferences for health practitioners and the general public.

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