Thursday, June 18, 2009

History of Chicory

History of Chicory
The chicory in botanically called as Cichorium intybus and belongs to the composite family. It is close related to endive and is sometimes called French endive.

It is very rich source of vitamins A, B, C and G. It also contains minerals.

Its drinks as coffee are stimulant and invigorating. It increases stamina and vigor, vitality and strength.

Chicory has fallen on hard times. It’s another roadside herb these days at best a coffee flavoring.
But for thousands of years, these plants have been cultivated and almost all the great sages of Western medicine have used them in one remedy or another.

It was both a humble home remedy and a drug of choice for royalty.

Queen Elizabeth 1 of England took chicory broth. But chicory may be taking its revenge.

According to Pliny (AD) 23-79), chicory juice was mixed with rose oil and vinegar as a remedy for headache.

Growing chicory is a very old activity. The plant was in cultivation in Egypt, irrigated by the flooding of the Nile, about 5,000 years ago. Its name may have been derived from its Egyptian name.

The oldest complete herbal we have from the first century A.D and written by the Greek physician Dioscorides, mentions chicory, as do most herbals written since.

Charlemagne respected it and listed it among the 75 herbs to be grown in his garden.

In sixteenth and seventeenth century herbals it was recommended for a motley collection of ailments, which show the theory of the Doctrine of Signatures in action.

According to this doctrine, a plant’s appearance should give some clue to its medicinal value.

For example, chicory will ooze a white milk when scratched; thus British herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in the mid-seventeenth century recommended chicory extract “for nurses’ breasts that pained by the abundance of milk.”

Chicory flowers are a lovely sky blue the color of the most beautiful of blue eyes and the flowers close as if in sleep at night. Thus Culpeper an other herbalists recommended chicory water for “sore eye that inflamed.”

In the United States, chicory is so common on roadsides that it’s hard to realize it’s not native, but all those miles of blue flowers we see today came from chicory imported by colonists.

Thomas Jefferson had some planted at Monticello in 1774, the seeds probably coming from Italy.

He used it as a ground cover in his fields and as cattle fodder, not to mention “tolerable salad for the table...” It must have been a success.

Chicory could grow in a wide range of American climates. In 1785, Governor James Bowdoin of Massachusetts had it planted in his fields to feed sheep.

And by 1818 it was abundant around Philadelphia, according to one of the pioneers of American medicinal botany. Dr. William Barton.

Chicory advanced human health in ways totally unforeseen by the great classic herbalists, it caused such a scandal in the nineteenth century that it inspired pure legislation.

Currently, its main application is as a mild bitter tonic for liver and digestive tract as a mild laxative and for cleansing the urinary tract.

One of the commissions in German recognized the herbs efficacy in the following areas
Loss of appetite
Dyspeptic complaints
Liver and gallbladder complaints

Wherever deep fried of fatty meals are consumed, a cup or two of chicory root beer is recommended.

A cup of cold root brew is given for settling an upset stomach or correcting acid indigestion and heartburn.

In culinary chicory’s flavor is strong and green and similar to dandelion. The leaves are used fresh or cooked like spinach, and the root is used in hot beverages, particularly coffee.
History of Chicory