Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Notes on Chicory

Picture from:

  • leaves can be eaten raw.
  • leaves are best when young and/or growing in areas protected from direct sunlight.
  • older leaves are best when cooked in several changes of water.
  • young plant, including flower heads can be cooked.
  • roots can be eaten raw when young.
  • roots can be split, dried and roasted to make coffee substitute.
  • look for chicory on disturbed ground, ranging from plains and foothills to montane regions.
  • warning: excessive/prolonged use may damage retinas and cause sluggish digestion.

Chicory teas taken internally are believed to be effective in treating jaundice and liver problems. Additionally, as with many other herbs, a tea made from roots or leaves appears to be useful for those with digestive problems.

Save a little tea and try dipping a cotton ball into it for a refreshing and soothing eye wash. You can also add a spoonful or two of honey to thicken and use as syrup for a mild laxative for kids. For long-term use, try drying and pulverizing Chicory leaves into a powder for use in capsule form. Please see How to Make Herbal Capsules for more information.

For external use, bruise fresh Chicory leaves and apply to areas affected by gout, skin eruptions, swellings, skin inflammations, and rheumatism.

Chicory Root 4:1

If you thought Chicory was only a rich, caffeine-free coffee substitute, think again! The herb's diuretic and laxative properties have been used for thousands of years as a purifying tonic for the blood, liver and kidneys, and it will also support the body's efforts to counteract stomach acid after eating too much rich food. Recent studies show promise for Chicory Root in the area of good heart health by assisting the body to fight fat and helping to decrease blood cholesterol levels, as well as controlling rapid heartbeat.


Chicory is a rather scruffy-looking, weedy perennial that is native to Europe, and it was imported to the United States during the eighteenth century by early colonists. It is so plentiful that it is almost believed to be indigenous to North America, where it grows cultivated and wild and may be found in fields, pastures, marginal areas and even invades lawns and gardens. The leaves at the plant's base are large and hairy, somewhat resembling those of a dandelion, giving Chicory one of its common names, Blue Dandelion. It has been suggested that another of its common names, Succory, is of Latin derivation, from succurrere, meaning "to run under" because of the depth to which the root penetrates. From the base, many two- to three-foot, stick-like stems arise, producing widely spaced foliage and milky sap; and bright, almost iridescent, blue flowers bloom on the stems, as if stapled to the wrong plant. Chicory will grow in almost any soil but prefers rich, well-drained, neutral-to-alkaline soil in sun. The rootstock is light yellow outside and white inside and also contains a bitter, milky juice, and the entire plant has been used in herbal medicine (primarily as a cleansing and toning herb) for thousands of years. The ancient Romans used Chicory as a blood purifier and also as a food, and it has remained an important crop throughout continental Europe to this day. The sixteenth century herbalist, Parkinson, described Chicory as a "fine, cleansing, jovial plant," and French herbalist, Maurice Mességué, maintains that the reason Chicory is so popular in France as a coffee addition or substitute is that it is a good "liver herb," toning and detoxifying the livers of those who enjoy French cuisine a bit too much. The leaves of Chicory may be eaten as a vegetable and added to salads and herb butters, and the roots are highly valued for medical preparations and for use as a coffee substitute or enrichment to balance its flavor and to counter the coffee's acidic quality and adverse effects on the stomach. The leaves of the young roots, which have a slightly bitter, caramel flavor when roasted, are dried and roasted to create a rich and flavorful coffee blend or caffeine-free coffee substitute, called Chicory coffee, which is especially popular in France. In World War II, when there was a shortage of coffee in the United States, Chicory coffee was a great substitute. Chicory Roots are lifted in early spring of the second year, dried, and used in cuisines and as a bitter, cooling herb in herbal medicine. Some of the constituents in Chicory Root include a bitter principle, inulin and sugar.

Beneficial Uses:

Chicory Root is considered a fine herbal liver, gallbladder and spleen tonic. The herb is called a "cholagogue" or substance that promotes the production of bile and stimulates its flow from the gallbladder and bile ducts, and as such, it may help to purify blood and cleanse the liver and gallbladder, which may further assist the body's efforts to release and dissolve gallstones, expel excess internal mucus and treat liver complaints, such as jaundice and enlarged liver.

The bitter principle in Chicory Root is believed to be beneficial for the glandular organs of the digestive system. Acting as an herbal antacid, the root is said to support the body's efforts to neutralize acid and correct acid indigestion, heartburn, gastritis, vomiting, upset stomach and lack of appetite; and Chicory Root has been approved by the German Commission E as an appetite stimulant and a remedy for dyspepsia. Because it stimulates bile production, this action helps to speed up the digestive process, further aiding the stomach after eating too much rich food (a use very popular in France).

Chicory Root may be helpful in the area of good heart health. Recent studies have produced some very positive evidence that Chicory Root fights fat in the system. Those with a very high fat diet experienced a remarkable decrease in blood cholesterol levels in time after taking Chicory Root, which may prove very helpful in cases of hardening of the arteries. Moreover, Egyptian scientists have investigated the potential use of Chicory Root in treating tachycardia (rapid heartbeat). Their studies showed the presence of a digitalis-like principle in the root, which actually decreased the rate of heartbeat in laboratory animals. Hopefully, this will have a beneficial impact on human health.

Chicory Root has been used as a tonic that nourishes and strengthens kidney function and urinary organs. The herb has a diuretic action that increases and promotes the flow of urine, which may support improved kidney function by cleansing the kidneys of toxins and removing them from the body.

As a mild laxative, Chicory Root may help to expel morbid matter from the intestines, further purifying the system of waste and toxins and often helping in cases of constipation.

Used externally, Chicory Root is believed to have healing properties for skin lacerations, swellings, hemorrhoids, poison ivy and sunburn. In addition, it has been used in poultices to reduce the inflammation of rheumatism and the pain of stiff and sore joints.


100% Chicory Root Botanical Extract (4:1) - Our products contain 100% pure plant-based/natural materials using no fillers, grains, yeast, sugars, binders, excipients, starches or synthetic materials.

Recommended Dosage:
Take two (2) capsules, one (1) to two (2) times each day with water at mealtimes.

Pregnant and nursing women should not use Chicory Root Herbal Supplement. Those who suffer from allergies to members of the daisy (Compositae) family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc.) should consult a doctor before using this product.

Capsule Information:
Our Chicory Root 4:1 supplements are encapsulated in 100% Gluten-free, Vegetable Cellulose, Certified Kosher, size '00' Capsules. (click here for size comparison) Each capsule contains approximately 600 mgs.

Special Note:
If any medical terms on our website are confusing or unknown, we have compiled a small dictionary of terms for you. Click here for our Definitions, and go directly to the word in question for further information.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Botanical Name: Chichorium intybus

Indian Name: Kasni

Origin, Distribution and Composition of Chicory

Chicory, or endive, is a perennial herb with a long tap root. It has condensed, round stems, numerous light or dark green leaves and pale blue flowers. The leaves have a bitter taste; flowers open at sunrise and close at dusk.

Chicory is native to the Mediterranean region or, possibly, eastern India . It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans and was cultivated in Egypt over 2000 years ago. The ancient physicians employed the plant in the treatment of several ailments. Classical writers like Horace, Virgil, Ovid and Pliny mentioned its use as a vegetable and a salad ingredient. Some scholars thought that the name succory came from the latin succurrene -which means to run under-because of the deep roots. Another suggestion is that succory may be a corruption of chicory, or cichorium, a word of Egyptian origin. Chicory has been mentioned as a special skin nourisher by ancient herbalists. A tea made from the pale blue flowers of this plant was said to give glowing skin.

An analysis of chicory or endive leaves shows them to consist of 93.0 per cent moisture, 1.7 per cent protein, 0.1 per cent fat, 0.9 per cent fiber and 4.3 per cent carbohydrate per 100 grams. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C. Its calorific value is 20.

Chicory flowers contain a glucoside chichorin and bitter substances, lactucin and intbin. Seeds contain a bland oil and roots contain nitrate and sulphate of potash, mucilage and some bitter principle.

Medicinal uses of chicory

tonic, diuretic and laxative. A decotion of the root has benefit in jaundice, liver problems, gout and rheumatic complaints. The root, when dried, roasted and ground, may be added to coffee or may be drunk on its own as a beverage.

Healing Power and Curative Properties of Chicory

Chicory is a tonic herb when taken in moderate quantities. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine. It is also a stimulant and a mild laxative. This herb helps the functions of the liver and gall bladder.

Eye Defects

Chicory contains food elements which are constantly needed by the optic system. It is one of the richest sources of vitamin A which is very useful for the eyes. The addition of juices of carrot, celery and parsley to chicory juice makes it a highly nourishing food for the optic nerve and the muscular system. It can bring amazing results in correcting eye defects. Half a liter to one liter daily of this combination has frequently corrected eye troubles within a few months, to the extent that normal vision was regained, making the use of glasses unnecessary.


The herb is a natural laxative. It is, therefore, beneficial in the treatment of chronic Constipation.


The herb, in combination with celery and parsley, is very helpful in anaemia. It is an effective blood tonic.

Liver and Gall Bladder Dysfunctions

Chicory flowers, seeds and roots are medicinally used in the treatment of liver disorders. About 30 to 60 ml of decoction of he flowers, seeds or roots can be used three times daily, with beneficial results, in the treatment of torpidity or sluggishness of the liver, biliary stasis or, stoppage of bile, Constipation and enlargement of the spleen.. Endive or chicory juice, in almost any combination, promotes the secretion of bile and is, therefore, very good for both liver and gall bladder dysfunctions.

Respiratory Disorders

The combined juices of chicory, carrot and celery are most helpful in asthma and hay fever, provided milk and foods containing concentrated starches and sugars such as white rice, white flours, macaroni, sweets, pastries and cakes are eliminated from the diet. Powder of the dry root in doses of half a teaspoon, mixed with honey if taken thrice daily, is a good expectorant in chronic bronchitis.

Obstructed Menstruation

A decoction of chicory seeds is useful in treating obstructed menstruation.

Other Uses and benefits of Chicory

The young leaves, preferably blanched, are eaten in salads. They may be mixed with other greens to minimize their strong ­ flavor. The mature green leaves are sometimes used as a cooked vegetable. The root, when roasted and ground, is often used as an ingredient to -mix with coffee, or is taken as a beverage on its own.

---Uses---The leaves are used in salads, for which they are much superior to Dandelion. They may be cut and used from young plants, but are generally blanched, as the unblanched leaves are bitter. This forced foliage is termed by the French Barbe de Capucin and forms a favourite winter salad, much eaten in France and Belgium. A particularly fine strain is known as Witloof, in Belgium, where smallholders make a great feature of this crop and excel in its cultivation. The young blanched heads also form a good vegetable for cooking, similar to Sea Kale.

Enormous quantities of the plant are cultivated on the Continent, to supply the grocer with the ground Chicory which forms an ingredient or adulteration to coffee. In Belgium, Chicory is sometimes even used as a drink without admixture of coffee. For this purpose, the thick cultivated root is sliced kiln-dried, roasted and then ground. It differs from coffee in the absence of volatile oil, rich aromatic flavour, caffeine and caffeotannic acid, and in the presence of a large amount of ash, including silica. When roasted, it yields 45 to 65 per cent of soluble extractive matter. Roasted Coffee yields only 21 to 25 per cent of soluble extract, this difference affording a means of approximately determining the amount of Chicory in a mixture.

When infused, Chicory gives to coffee a bitterish taste and a dark colour. French writers say it is contra-stimulante, and serves to correct the excitation caused by the principles of coffee, and that it suits bilious subjects who suffer from habitual constipation, but is ill-adapted for persons whose vital energy soon flags, and that for lymphatic or bloodless persons its use should be avoided.

(the above site has a lot of detail, I am posting only the leaf comment because the leaf use is the most neglected on other sites).

1 comment:

  1. Chicory is a lovely edible. This time of year it is easy to identify. Its one of the only plants with that kind of blue flower, this time of year. I can even ID it driving down the road now. The key is to recognize branches are at that "certain angle" with tuffs of greenery along the stem. Nothing else has those 2 particular traits. Below web site has a good picture of the whole plant. (I don't seem to be able to post a photo in the comment section)
    Time to pick some pretty flowers. Some for the salad and some for the medicine jar. Yum!