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|DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.|
| If allergic to ragweed or other members of the Compositae family, approach use of Chicory with caution.|
In rare cases contact with the fresh plant can cause allergic skin reactions.
Rangy, erect plant with many cultivars which is native to North Africa, Europe, and western Asia, growing from 2 to 5 feet with a 2½ foot spread. Naturalized in North America and peculiar to sloping hillsides. Has been cultivated on a large scale in Michigan.
FLOWERS are an eye-catching azure blue in the wild species, 1½ inches across with toothed rays which open around 7:00 a.m. and close around noon (or later, depending on location). LEAVES are oblong and hairy, the basal rosette can be misidentified as Dandelion in early spring, but Chicory leaves are more bristly; leaves higher up the stem are clasping. Possesses a deep tap ROOT which is light yellow on the outside and a white interior which contains a bitter, milky juice.
A plant of ancient usage dating back to Egyptian and Roman writings and both cultures cultivated it as a vegetable as much as 5,000 years ago. Was mentioned by the Greek physician Dioscorides.Astrologically ruled by Jupiter §
CONTAINS: 58% inulin (can be that high in cultivated plants), sugar, mineral salts, copper, vitamins B, C, K, P, sesquiterpine lactones (antibacterial lactucine, plus lactupicrine), anthocyanin, chicoric acid, pentosans, cichoriin, esculetin, esculin, alpha-lactucerol, monocaffeyltartaric acid, tannin, fatty oil, volatile oil.
|PROPAGATION||By SEED. Germinates in 7 to 14 days with a soil temp of 70ºF. Perennial to zone 3.|
|NEEDS||Full sun. Deep, friable, calcium rich, well-draining soil with a pH of around 6.4 and which has been well composted. Space 10 to 12 inches apart in the garden (18 inch drills for crop sowing). Keep well watered and weeded during dry spells. Side dress with compost at midsummer. To produce forced, pale greens (ie. endive) dig roots, cut off leafy tops and store in a cool dry place (boxes of dry sand in an out-building such as a garage works in some climates - point being to place them somewhere it does not get below freezing). Allow to lie dormant for 3 months, then plant in a pot at least 18 inches deep which has been filled with good potting soil or sandy loam. Allow to grow in a warm spot out of the light at a temperature not below 55ºF. In 3 weeks the now pale leaves have formed a cone-shaped bud 6 to 9 inches long. Slice off buds and discard root.|
|FLOWERS||Soft bright blue. July-September.|
|PART USED||ROOT (raw or roasted); FLOWERING HERB|
|HARVEST||ROOT in fall (can also be lifted in spring for some uses). Root can be dug all winter if first dug and replanted in sand or light soil in a protected area where they won't freeze. This method is used more often for 'forcing' leaf growth to be blanched (growing without sunlight).|
LEAVES used fresh.
|FORM||Tea/infusion; decoction; poultice (leaves).|
|CULTIVATED VARIETIES||BRUSSELS WITLOOF: Developed particularly for the coffee substitute trade. The blanched leaves are also used by trimming the root to 8 inches and placing in sand in a box, then covering with 8 inches of sand and keeping the temperature at 60ºF; in a few weeks the head is ready for harvest, being 6 inches long.|