Chicory (Cichorium Intybus) medicinal herb is a plant that is native to parts of Europe, Australia and North America and is used for several culinary purposes. It is a perennial plant that belongs to the Compositae family. The main parts used as herbal medicine are the leaves and root. It has curly, bitter-tasting leaves that can be eaten raw or cooked like greens.
The common names are Blue sailors, Blue dandelion because it is similar to dandelion, Succoury, Wild endive, Wild succoury as well as Coffee weed.
The ancient Egyptians and Romans used it as a vegetable which was eaten after meals to aid digestion and eliminate wastes. The French use the root in their coffee to counter balance the stimulating effect of the caffeine. Can you believe that it is one of the original "bitter herbs" used during Passover? Yes, it is.
The roots can be baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive and the dried roots also can be added to coffee for aroma and flavor. This is referred to as chicory coffee.
Therefore coffee lovers could make a switch from time to time and reap the natural benefits from this medicinal herb, especially those individuals who suffer heart conditions. The Constituents are inulin, sugar, beta-carotene and a bitter principle.
The sight of the blue-purple sun-ray flower of the dandelion-like stalk of this plant is a familiar greeting on summer morning walks which grows rather like a common weed.
A medicinal tea of the root is used as a blood purifier for the liver and kidneys and to clean out the intestines, stomach and colon. Deemed as a diabetic herb, it is also given to diabetes sufferers to lower their blood sugar.
A tea made from the leaves can aid in the flow of bile and assist in the elimination of gallstones. The fresh greens can be steamed as a vegetable and eaten to clean out the intestines, colon and stomach.
The root contains volatile oils and the flowers were used as treatment in Germany. It is recorded in many books as an ancient German treatment for everyday ailments. It is used as a treatment for gastroenteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises, loss of appetite as well as cancer. The leaves can be crushed and used as a poultice for swellings and inflammations.
Although many persons are not fond of green drinks because of the bad taste, it is however, packed with lots of nutrients. It was observed that the best green drink contains oligofructose (OF) and inulin. These are two soluble fibers which are found in the root and they are abundantly full of good nutrition.
A decoction of one ounce of the root to a pint of boiling water is effective in the natural treatment of jaundice, liver enlargements, gout, gravel, as well as rheumatic conditions.
Steep one ounce of the dry root of the medicinal herb in one pint of boiling water for ten minutes, then strain chicory decoction and used accordingly.
Updated January 28, 2016