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Part of the aster family Chicory is native to the northern Middle East to southern Balkan Peninsula. It has naturalized to North America, Europe and Australia. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, listed it as one of the herbs he required be grown in his garden. The species name, intybus, is derived from the Latin and Egyptian word tybi, meaning January, the month when Chicory leaves were most often eaten in that part of the world.
Chicory is a larger relative of the Dandelion with similar large taproots that go deep into the earth. Believed to be the flower of luck in German mythology. It is also one of the traditional bitter herbs of Passover. Cows love to graze upon Chicory, but it will make their milk taste bitter if eaten in excess. The large blue flowers appear from July to September. They close in the afternoon and at the approaching of bad weather like before the rain. Varieties of the plant produce white or pink flowers.
Historically, Chicory was grown by the ancient Egyptians as a medicinal plant, coffee substitute and vegetable crop; and was occasionally used for animal forage. This multipurpose plant contains high amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and mineral elements. The Root of Chicory contains large amounts of inulin – 12 to 15% in the fresh, wild plant and 50-60% in the dried root of the cultivated variety.
In Scandinavia, Chicory is mentioned in herbal medicine writings from the 1400s, as a herb that increased appetite and enhanced digestion. When Chicory is roasted it loses some of its medicinal properties, but it still makes a nice bitter drink in the morning to support the digestive system and liver.
The energetics and taste of Chicory is bitter, sweet, cool and moist. Chicory has an affinity towards the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, spleen, digestive system and musculoskeletal system. Combine with Roasted Dandelion Root, Cinnamon Bark or Cardamom as a coffee substitute.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Chicory Root to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
Cautions & contraindications:
Excessive use can possibly cause digestive disturbances and visual problems.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your health care provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.