Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Common chicory is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers. Originating from Europe, it was naturalized in North America, where it has become a common roadside plant.

Its flowers have clear blue fluted petals with two or three flowers borne at each leaf joint and blooms from mid summer to mid autumn.
The root of the chicory plant is long and thick, like the tap-root of the dandelion. When dried, roasted and ground, it makes an excellent substitute for coffee. There is no caffeine in chicory, and it produces a more ‘roasted’ flavour than coffee does. Many coffee producers offer blends with up to 30% chicory, which cuts down on the caffeine content of your cup. But many folk enjoy a cup of ‘coffee’ made entirely from ground, roasted chicory.
It is a staple in Cajun-style red-eye gravy. Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffee weed.

The chicons are blanched heads produced by forcing roots in warmth and darkness (also known as Belgian endives). These may be tossed in salads, used as a cup in appetisers or braised in butter as a vegetable

It was believed that the plant could purify the blood and liver, while others have relied on the herb for its power to cure passions of the heart. Chicory continues to be a popular herbal remedy due to its healing effects on several ailments. Chicory is taken internally for loss of appetite, jaundice, gallstones, gout and rheumatism. In addition, the leaves of chicory may also be used as compresses to be applied externally to ease skin inflammations and swellings. As a mild diuretic, it increases the elimination of fluid from the body, leading to its use as a treatment for rheumatism and gout. The root and the leaves are appetizer, cholagogue, depurative, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic, laxative and tonic. It favors blood circulation by making blood more fluid and allowing it a better travel through vein and arteries.

 

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One comment on “Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

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