- Family Asteraceae (formerly Compositae)
- Cichorium intybus
- Succory, Hendibeh, Coffeeweed, Garden Chicory, Endive
- None listed.
A deep-rooted perennial growing to five feet, chicory has hairy stems, oblong leaves, and blue flowers. It can be found in Europe, the Middle East as far as Iran, north and south Africa, all of America, Australia, and New Zealand. Chicory flourishes along paths and roadsides, on banks, and in dry fields.
According to Pliny (23-79 CE), chicory juice was mixed with rose oil and vinegar as a remedy for headaches.
The roasted root has long been used as a coffee substitute; and, as a vegetable, it is boiled and eaten like a parsnip. The leaves were valued as a vegetable long before the advent of spinach.
Chicory was used by various Native American tribes as a liver purifier and as an aid for upset stomachs. The Cherokee found it useful as a nerve tonic.
- bitter tonic
- mildly laxative
- hydroxycoumarins (including umbelliferone)
- inulin (up to 58%)
- sesquiterpene lactones
- Root, leaves, flowers
It is primarily used as a bitter tonic to aid digestion by stimulating the liver and digestive tract. The root is therapeutically similar in action to the dandelion in supporting the action of the stomach and liver and in cleansing the urinary tract. An infusion of the leaves and flowers also aids the digestion.
It is also taken for rheumatic conditions and gout.
The juice is mildly laxative and one particularly appropriate for children and the convalescent.
It can be used as a gargle for sore throats.
Infusions are used to treat hemorrhoids, tuberculosis, abdominal cramps, melancholy, and rashes.
When applied topically, the bruised leaves can help relieve swelling and inflammation.
In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used for headaches, dyspepsia, skin allergies, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Endive is technically a closely related species that has similar, but milder, effects.