Cichorium intybus Linn.
Perennial, 150 cm heigh.
Grows in moderate and tropical climates of Eurasia.
Normally grows on pratums, wood glades, herbaceous slopes, roadsides. It is a common weed on waste grounds, fields, near human settlements. In mountains rises to mid-mountain areas.
The herb contains inulin ; sesquiterpene lactones including lactucin and lactucopicrin); coumarins (chicoriin, esculetin, esculin,umbelliferone and scopoletin); the root includes a series of glucofructosans. Raw chicory root contains only citric and tartaric acids; roasted chicory contains acetic, lactic, pyruvic, pyromucic, palmitic and tartaric acids.
Traditional Use and Activity
Chicory has tonic effect on liver and digestive tract. It is commonly used as a part of a diet and rarely in modern herbalism. The roots and the leaves have cholagogue, depurative, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic, laxative and tonic effects. The roots are more medicinally active. A decoction of the root has proved to be benefitial in the treatment of jaundice, liver enlargement, gout and rheumatism. A decoction of the freshly harvested plant is used for treating gravel. The roots extract slowers and weaken heart rate (pulse) in experiments. The latex in the stems is applied to warts to destroy them. Leaves are edible part of Chicory and are consumed raw or cooked. The leaves are rather bitter, especially when the plant is flowering. The blanched leaves are often used in winter salads and for cooking. The unblanched leaves are much less bitter in winter and make an excellent addition to salads at that time of a year. The root is believed to be an ideal food for people with diabetes because of high inulin content. The roasted roots are used as a caffeine-free coffee adulterant or substitute.