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Archive for the ‘Chicory’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Chicory, coffee substitute and medicine

I have been studying the common roadside weed, chicory. This plant is actually quite amazing and will always be kept in my pantry from now on.

How to identify Chicory Plants

How to identify the chicory plant

Chicory root roasting in the oven leaves an incredible smell something like chocolate combined with a woody scent. The whole room smells good.
Chicory has been used for many centuries as a salad herb, coffee substitute and a medicine. In the US, it is one of the most popular coffee substitutes in use. During war times it was often mixed with other herbs for a nice flavored coffee substitute.
The bottom, younger leaves can be eaten in a salad. Although I find them a bit bitter. Cooking removes some of the bitterness, they say. I have not tried that yet. When I do, I will post the updates.
As a medicine, it is a very flexible and useful herb. Here is a list of its medicinal properties:

  • Mild laxative
  • Mildly sedative
  • Diuretic
  • Jaundice
  • Skin eruptions
  • Fevers
  • Cardiotonic
  • Lowers Blood Sugar
  • Liver and Gallbladder ailments
  • Antibacterial

And the list goes on. Chicory is also good for the helpful bacteria in our intestines. It aids the good ones, while purging the bad. Also said to help remove worms and parasites when used in a concentrated form. It is often added to cat and dog food for its healthy benefits.
As a coffee substitute, simply dig out the root. Two people make this job easier. One pulls on the plant firmly and slowly upward while the other loosens the soil with a shovel around the base of the plant, in a straight downward angle. Try to avoid cutting the root with the shovel. Wash the roots, cut them up and roast until dry and lightly brown. Grind them up just like coffee. Use a little bit less grounds than you would use for normal coffee.
Also, for a nice drink, mix 50-50 coffee and chicory. This gives a pleasant, smooth coffee.
Chicory is one of the most versatile and easily found herbs in the wilds.