Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Other common names: Succory, blue daisy, blue weed, hendibeh

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Family: Asteraceae

Actions:

Bitter, mild aperient laxative, diuretic, cholagogue, liver tonic, appetite stimulant, vermifuge, antiparasitic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, uterine stimulant.

Harvest:

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/pawpaw67

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/pawpaw67

The young leaves can be taken in spring/summer, but the root should be harvested in autumn.

Part used: Root, less commonly the leaves and flowers

Constituents: 

Inulin, cellulose, ash, sucrose, protein, volatile oils,  sesquiterpene lactones (lactucin and lactucopicrin), aesculetin, aesculin, cichoriin, umbelliferone, scopoletin, calcium, thiamine, phosphorus, carotene, iron, riboflavin, niacin vitamin C, and others.

Indications:

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Diagram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Lack of appetite, indigestion, constipation (even in children – it does not cause cramping), sluggish liver activity, detoxification, internal parasites, hepatitis, fluid retention, swelling, inflammation, weight management (via establishing a healthy digestion process), high cholesterol.

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

Chicory root can be roasted and brewed like coffee (and has been used as a coffee substitute), and drank the same as one would any other decoction. This is the most common medicinal use, but you can also eat it in culinary dishes or take it in tincture or capsule form. The leaves have also been used in cooking.

External

The leaves are sometimes used as a poultice for swelling and inflammation, but it is most popular as an internal remedy.

Contraindications:

May cause hay fever-type reactions in those allergic to the ragweed family (asteraceae). Do not use if pregnant or nursing, and consult a doctor before use if you have gallstones/kidney stones. May interact with diuretics, and other medication – ask your doctor to be sure. Do not use daily for longer than six to eight weeks without taking a break.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Chicory has roots in ancient Egypt – it was prized for its medicinal effects on the liver and gallbladder even back then. It is also used in ointments in Turkish herbal medicine. There is folklore that suggests chicory should not be handed by those who are caring for silkworms, lest it affect the quality of the silk (I’m not clear on why).  European stories indicate that it can open a locked door.

In Shamanism, chicory is carried to overcome any hurdles that might get in your way, and break through barriers to success. Some Shamans refer to it as a “clock flower” because its flowers move, open and close along with the passing of the sun. Its petals are scattered on the ground to modify the passage of time while on inter-realm journeys – this can help align two (or more) different time frames and avoid distortion.

The chicory flower essence is given for those who are overprotective, self-pitying, manipulative and easily offended. It can also help to modify possessive or demanding behaviour.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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