- Cichorium intybus L.
- Composite family
endive (Cichorium endive)
Parts Usually Used
Rootstock, flowering herb
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
A perennial or biennial plant 2-4 feet tall; the large taproot; light
yellow outside, white inside, and, like the rest of the plant, contains
a bitter, milky juice. The stiff, roughly hairy, angular, branching
stem bears lanceolate leaves that are coarsely wavy, toothed near
the bottom of the plant but entire higher up. The light-blue to violet-blue,
axillary or terminal flowerheads in small clusters in upper leaf axils,
feature rays that are toothed at the ends. They open in the morning.
Flowering time is from July to September or October. Seeds are pale
Commonly cultivated and also are a common sight wild, along roadsides,
in vacant lots, waste ground, and fields throughout the United States
and Europe. Most of the United States cultivated Chicory is grown
in Michigan State.
Appetizer, astringent, carminitive, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic,
hepatic, laxative, tonic.
Legends, Myths and Stories
It would surprise many farmers to know that this weed, so common
in barnyards and along waysides, was a highly regarded medicine of
the ancient Egyptian and Arabian physicians. The plant was very common
over most of Europe before America was discovered, and is still much
used by people of modern times. The blanched leaves are used in salads;
the baked roots as pottage, and pulverized dried roots of Chicory
was used to give body to coffee, or as a coffee substitute.
Roasted chicory roots may be used as a substitute for coffee and
the young leaves eaten in salads. Chicory is used as an additive to
coffee. The French are particularly fond of chicory in coffee.
Roasted chicory not only cuts down the caffeine content of coffee,
but also gives coffee body and smoothness, which millions of coffee
drinkers prefer. When adulterating Roasted Chicory with coffee, begin
with a small amount; add more to subsequent mixtures until you acquire
the most desirable mixture. Naturally the more Roasted Chicory used,
the less caffeine you will get.
At one time, this was a disreputable adulterant in coffee; but by
skillful roasting methods it has become an esteemed ingredient in
New Orleans type coffee. Roasted Chicory now deserves a niche of its
own as a flavor in the culinary world. For a delightful and wholesome
difference, heat (do not boil) 1 cup of milk, add 1 tsp. (or more
if desired) of roasted chicory; steep 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and
sweeten to taste. The flavor of this beverage is very much like a
milk chocolate. This beverage leaves no caffeine jitters, and contains
no theobromine (as in cocoa) that sometimes causes digestive disturbance.
Chicory is often helpful for jaundice
and for spleen problems. The juice of the leaves and a tea made from
the flowering plant promote the production of bile, the release of
gallstones, and the elimination
of excessive internal mucus. They are also useful for gastritis, lack
of appetite, and digestive
difficulties. AA decoction of the rootstock is said to be helpful
to the glandular organs or the digestive system. For painful inflammations,
try applying the boiled leaves and flowers wrapped in a cloth. Also
a spring tonic.
One ounce root in 1 pint of water used as a diuretic, laxative,
folk use for jaundice, skin eruptions, slightly sedative, and mildly
laxative. Homeopathically used for liver and gall bladder ailments.
Leaf extracts weaker than root extracts. In experiments, animals given
chicory root extracts exhibit a slower and weaker heart rate (pulse).
It has been suggested that the plant should be researched for use
in heart irregularities. Root extracts in alcohol solutions have proven
anti-inflammatory effects in experiments.
Formulas or Dosages
Gather the rootstock from March to May.
Decoction: use 1 tsp. rootstock or herb per 1/2 cup of cold
water; bring to a boil and strain. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups per day, a
mouthful at a time.
Juice: take 1 tbsp. in milk or water, 3 times per day.
Found in most supermarkets