Hello, and thank you for joining this week’s Plant Walk Tuesday! I am absolutely thrilled to have you here because I believe that harnessing a strong connection with the plant community is vital to our wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of our Mother Earth. When we recognize how humans + the plant community have co-existed since the beginning of time, we can begin to embrace the power and wisdom that the plant community holds as allies on our journey to harmonizing our mind-body-spirit connection. I believe that Herbal Medicine is the healthiest Medicine on Earth and it is our responsibility to protect the land knowing that in return, she will protect us too.
On today’s Plant Walk Tuesday I am excited to introduce you to the beautiful Chicory Cichorium intybus. Chicory is a perennial native to Europe and can also be found throughout North America and many other parts of the world. FUN FACT: Chicory is one of the earliest plants recorded in literature as Horace, a 2,000 year old ancient Roman poet, wrote in an article that his diet consisted of “olives, chicory, and winter anemones” (Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae”).
Traditionally Chicory was recognized as food for its unique taste and nutritional benefits. In Egypt the leaves were used fresh for green salads and in Europe the roots would be boiled and eaten like carrots.
When flowering, Chicory has a tough, grooved, and hairy stem. It can grow between 30-100 cm tall and the flowers are most commonly described as being light purple, light blue, and very rarely, pink or white. Chicory is closely related to the Dandelion family as it shares similarities in both appearance in the leaves and stems as well as healing properties which explains why one of Chicory’s nicknames is the ‘Blue Dandelion’. Like the Dandelion, it can pop up anywhere under sun, which is why in Germany it is given the nickname “Wegwarte” meaning ‘path plant’. No matter how sunny the day is Chicory flowers regularly close in the late afternoon and re-open in the early morning.
Ground Chicory root has grown increasingly popular in the last few years as it developed a reputation for being a coffee substitute for those looking to wean off of coffee. Chicory is caffeine free so it does not provide the same burst of energy; however, it has a similar pleasant, bitter, dark, and rich taste to that of coffee. On top of satisfying a coffee lovers desire for warmth and bitterness, Chicory has many other special healthy attributes including its ability to (just to name a few):
Treat nervous system disorders such as anxiety.
Lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
Is a purifying tonic for the liver, blood, and kidneys.
It is a bitter so it promotes digestive health by stimulating the production of bile.
It is a gentle diuretic and laxative which helps alleviate constipation.
It is also a wonderful food source because it is high in inulin which is a powerful prebiotic. Prebiotics are fibre that feed the good bacteria in our gut (However, avoid if following the FODMAP diet).
Energetically Chicory reminds us to have patience for others and to turn our focus from ourselves onto others. It allows us to open our hearts with patience, gratitude, and empathy. Overall Chicory provides us with the power to give unconditional love.
I encourage you to try adding chicory leaves in your diet for the nutritional benefit. However, an easier way to incorporate Chicory as the seasons begin to change is by making an infusion.
2TSP dried chicory
Cover the Chicory with boiling water and steep for ~10 minutes. Strain, and enjoy!
Please make yourself aware of the cautions and contraindications of Chicory consumption if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Furthermore, if there is an allergy to the Compositae family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc….) I recommend that you consult your local herbalist or health care professional before using this product.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Chicory this week! Thank you for joining me 😊. This post is not meant to be medical advice, but intended to inspire you to learn more about Chicory, and the benefits of incorporating herbal medicine in your daily life! Of course this blog post is not all encompassing of Chicory and its amazing contribution to land and self, so I recommend that you have fun exploring the beautiful herb yourself for further insight.
Sending Love and Light
Lisa Marie Holmes