Medicinal plants

Chicory – Application & Treatment for Health

Common chicory

Chicory is a common wild plant with the botanical name Chicorium intybus . The blue flowering plant has been considered a medicinal plant since ancient times and is edible. A cultivated form is chicory.

Occurrence & Cultivation of Chicory

The chicory has many popular names such as way lamp or chicory . The most common name reflects where it is most commonly found: By the wayside. It also grows on embankments, railway tracks or abandoned industrial facilities and thrives on dry, nitrogen-rich soil. Botanically, chicory belongs to the daisy family of plants and is native to Europe, western Asia and north-west Africa.

As a pioneer plant, it is resilient and is now also widespread in North and South America. In 2009, the Loki Schmidt Foundation voted the chicory flower of the year. The foundation drew attention to the fact that this plant is endangered in some regions of Germany due to a lack of free space. The wild plant is perennial, has a deep-reaching taproot and reaches a height of more than one meter.

Its leaves are dark green and lance-shaped and the branching stalks bear the typical radiating blue flowers. These have a diameter of up to five centimeters and develop angular fruits. White or pink flowers are very rare. Coffee chicory, chicory and radicchio are cultivated forms of the wild plant that have been refined by human hands.

Effect & Application

Chicory was used as a medicinal plant by the Romans and Greeks. They used them as a diaphoretic and for diseases of the internal organs. The bitter substances and inulin contained in the plant stimulate the flow of bile and promote digestion . Inulin is also suitable as a starch substitute for diabetics because it does not affect the blood sugar level . All parts of the plant can be used for therapeutic purposes and they are contained in many finished medicinal products and in tea mixtures.

A juice can be made from the roots, which has a digestive effect. Naturopathy uses root powder, seeds and dried flowers and the leaves of the plant to strengthen the liver, bladder, stomach, intestines and bile. Chicory is one of the ingredients in Swedish bitter, a well-known bitter spirit. A home remedy for body aches and rheumatism are chicory medicinal wine and chicory spirit, which are made from the root mixed with alcohol.

The food industry uses coffee chicory to obtain inulin. Inulin is used as a probiotic dietary fiber in products such as yoghurt or sausage products to stimulate digestion, replace fat and improve taste. In addition to bitter substances, the plant contains vitamins and minerals and is an ideal ingredient for salads, soups and vegetable side dishes. The edible flowers are decorative in soups and salads.

Larger buds are steamed and used as a vegetable side dish. The wild plant can be settled in the garden. It is not commercially available. The cultivated variants such as chicory and radicchio are available everywhere and are used in the kitchen. The roasted roots of the coffee chicory serve as a coffee beverage. These coffee drinks are known under the term Muckefuck. Chicory coffee was popular in the 19th century.

In the meantime, coffee chicory has lost its importance, but it is still contained in Caro coffee. In China and the USA, coffee chicory also has the function of a fodder plant for livestock. In cosmetics, the plant is a component of some creams especially for sensitive skin that is prone to redness.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

The health-promoting effects of chicory in stimulating the flow of bile and stimulating appetite have been medically examined and proven. The bitter substances it contains stimulate the flow of bile and lead to better digestion. Animal studies showed that blood lipid levels fell.

These results have not yet been adequately documented. Naturopathy also uses tea and tinctures from the wild plant to stimulate the spleen and liver. The tea has a slightly laxative effect and since it is well tolerated, it is also suitable for treating constipation in children . The bitter substances strengthen the metabolism and the immune system . In addition, naturopathy assumes that the tea has a detoxifying effect: the ingredients can bind heavy metals.

Since these do not get into the blood, the body excretes them naturally. Drinking the tea is considered a home remedy for rheumatic diseases . Indian healing tradition uses drinks made from the seeds to treat insomnia . Chicory teas can be bought in pharmacies or you can make them yourself. The tannins in the leaves and roots are said to help with impure skin, reddened skin or eczema . They can be found in some creams. The crushed, crushed roots can also help as a pad on the affected skin areas.

In a mixture with rose oil and vinegar, the plant juice can help with headaches . An outdated method is the application of porridge or tea pads for eye inflammation . Chicory is a plant essence in Bach flower therapy that helps egocentric people find a way to selfless love. There are hardly any known side effects after ingestion.

The application is not recommended for allergies to composite plants. Individuals with gallbladder problems and gallstones should consult a doctor before using products containing chicory. The products are not recommended for diseases that are aggravated by increased gastric juice production. Basically, for pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking it.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.