Chicory is best known as a caffeine-free coffee substitute, but this member of the daisy family of plants has a variety of medicinal uses too.
Chicory is biologically referred to as Cichorium intybus and often called succory, endive or blue sailors. The chicory plant can be found growing in areas where nothing else will and it shoots roots that run deep in the earth – probably how it acquired the name succory, stemming from the Latin word “to run under”.
In days of old chicory was valued medicinally as a diuretic and laxative tonic and in ancient Egypt it enjoyed a reputation for slowing rapid heartbeat. The herb has continued to be used medicinally and is now commonly applied to treat inflammation, skin disorders, gout, jaundice and to reduce enlarged liver.
What is chicory used for?
Lower pulse rate
Reduce cholesterol levels
Bitter tonic for the digestive tract
Inflammation (boiled leaves)
In South Africa the chicory root powder is available for medicinal uses. Dosage should follow the instruction on the package, specific to your brand of choice.
There are no known contraindications associated with chicory use.
(Photo: Bruce Marlin)
(updated by Birgit Ottermann, Health24, August 2010)