Wild chicory – common chicory

Asteraceae or Compositae family; common chicory 

This is a clock plant that reacts sensitively to a decrease in light. In the morning, under the bright sun, the sky-blue baskets of chicory are fully opened, but now the day is approaching the evening: where are they, these beautiful flowers? As if they disappeared without a trace. Even if there is no clock, you can confidently say: it’s almost five o’clock in the evening. On cloudy days, the flowers of the plant are always closed.

Chicory is a herbaceous perennial 15-120 cm tall. The stem of the plant is straight, ribbed; leaves are lanceolate, sharp-toothed, stem-wrapped. The flowers are large, bright blue, bloom from July to the beginning of September. The fruit is an achene. The plant is widespread in meadows, wastelands, near roads throughout the territory of Ukraine, in the European part of Russia and in the southern regions of Siberia. There are weeds in the fields and gardens.

Roots are used for medicinal purposes, and less often chicory herb. The roots are harvested in autumn, after the aerial part of the plant withers, they are dug up, shaken off the ground, quickly washed in cold water. If necessary, cut lengthwise and crosswise. Dry in the open air in the shade or in a dryer at a temperature not higher than 50 °C. The aerial part is harvested during the flowering of the plant by cutting off the tops of stems 30 cm long. The collected grass is dried in the air in the shade or in well-ventilated rooms, sometimes in dryers at a temperature of 40 °C. The finished raw materials are stored in dry, ventilated rooms.

Root plants contain sugars, inulin, glycoside intibin and other compounds; the aerial part contains bitter substances, triterpenes, chicory glycoside (in flowers), vitamin C and B vitamins.

In folk medicine, chicory products are used for mineral metabolism disorders, urinary and gallstone diseases, rheumatism, gout, and arthritis. As part of the collection, the plant is used to treat diseases of the digestive tract, disorders of the secretory apparatus of the pancreas, diseases of the spleen, and also as an appetite stimulant.

There are no contraindications to the use of chicory products.

The dried and roasted roots of the plant are used in the food industry as an additive to natural coffee, which gives it a pleasant, sharp bitterness. Chicory coffee is used in its pure form and in a mixture with roasted grains of food cereals (barley, rye, oats). These drinks do not have any harmful effects.

The cultivated (leafy) biennial form of chicory is grown as a vegetable plant for the preparation of vitamin salads. Chicory salad greens are rich in vitamins, inulin and potassium salts.

Decoction of grass or roots. 2 tablespoons of grass or 1 tablespoon of chopped roots are boiled for 10 minutes. in a boiling water bath in 0.5 l of water, filtered, brought to the original volume with warm boiled water. Take 1/2 cup 4 times a day before meals.

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