Chicory flower catching the Sunrise
This article is about the cultivated vegetable called chicon. For the Worldcons named Chicon, see Chicon (Worldcon).
Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or for roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive.
Common chicory is also known as blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor's buttons, and wild endive.
...Some beer brewers use roasted chicory to add flavor to stouts (commonly expected to have a coffee-like flavour). Others have added it to strong blond Belgian-style ales, to augment the hops, making a "witlofbier", from the Dutch name for the plant.
Medicinal use: Root chicory contains volatile oils similar to those found in plants in the related genus Tanacetum which includes Tansy, and is similarly effective at eliminating intestinal worms. All parts of the plant contain these volatile oils, with the majority of the toxic components concentrated in the plant's root.
Chicory is well known for its toxicity to internal parasites. Studies indicate that ingestion of chicory by farm animals results in reduction of worm burdens, which has prompted its widespread use as a forage supplement. Only a few major companies are active in research, development, and production of chicory varieties and selections, most in New Zealand.
Chicory (especially the flower), used as a folk medicine in Germany, is recorded in many books as an ancient German treatment for everyday ailments. It is variously used as a tonic and as a treatment for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises. Chicory contains inulin, which may help humans with weight loss, constipation, improving bowel function, and general health. In rats, it may increase calcium absorption and bone mineral density.
Chicory has demonstrated antihepatotoxic potential in animal studies.
Alternative medicine: Chicory has been listed as one of the 38 plants that are used to prepare Bach flower remedies, a kind of alternative medicine. However according to Cancer Research UK, "there is no scientific evidence to prove that flower remedies can control, cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer"