Chicory is best known as a coffee substitute or additive, which is made from the roasted root of this plant. The plant is related to the Dandelion, yet has a blue flower and is called “Blue Sailors” in some places it grows. It was brought to North America in the 1800’s and has become naturalized in much of the eastern, Midwest and western states excluding most of the southern part of the US. The leaves can be eaten in the spring as a bitter green much like dandelion, and it has been cultivated as a fresh green fodder for livestock. The leaves are rich in vitamin c.
The bitter principles and starches are of interest here for its employment in herbal pharmacy. The cultivated varieties contain very large amounts of carbohydrates, inulin, fructose, and fiber and these can be extracted to form a solid substance for tableting, as well as a "prebiotic", providing a food source for friendly bacteria to use during implantation. The root is used and has properties similar to those of dandelion. The leaves and roots are tonic, help regulate the release of fluids and water-soluble waste, have mild laxative properties and support and regulate kidney and liver function.*
Uses of Chicory
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.