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The chicory - this native, hardy perennial has a lot to offer us in terms of enjoyment and he alth. It is still called chicory after its Latin name (Cichorium intybus), but it also has a number of popular names. Sunflower, blue thistle, water warden, rabbit milk and coffee herb are just a few of them. Although chicory has been known for more than 5000 years and was probably cultivated and used in ancient Egypt, it has been unjustly forgotten today. Only recently has its popularity increased again, especially as an ingredient in chicory coffee, which more and more people prefer as a trendy coffee substitute. In the following lines we would like to tell you more about chicory and its he alth benefits and give you a few good tips.
The beautiful flowers of chicory open in the sun
Why is chicory so he althy?
Chiories belong to the daisy family (Asteraceae). This means that they are closely related to chicory and radicchio and have the typical bitter taste. And this is exactly what makes them something very special. Not for nothing was the chicory for medicinal plant of the year 2022 chosen by the NHV Theophrastus.
Because it contains a lot of incredibly he althy substances such as bitter substances and tannins, essential oils, cichoriin, etc. Perhaps the most important component of chicory is what is known as inulin. It is a polysaccharide that only decomposes in the intestine and in this way does not negatively affect the blood sugar level. Inulin is also a soluble, prebiotic dietary fiber that ensures good intestinal flora. For this reason, the substance is often added to many probiotic preparations.
Delicate beauty and he althy effect in one
Because of its he althy ingredients, chicory was already used in the Middle Ages for digestive and spleen complaints as well as for gout, rheumatism and loss of appetite. And indeed, the plant can be very helpful with such complaints because it stimulates digestion and purifies the liver, spleen and kidneys while boosting your metabolism.
The secret of the chicory is not in the delicate, blue flowers, which only appear in the morning until the early afternoon, but deep down, in the roots. Because that's where the most healing substances are found. Therefore, the root is mainly used. These can be cooked as vegetables or processed into a kind of coffee in dried and roasted form. Find out more below.
Chicory and its components from a biological point of view
The gorgeous flowers are also edible and can be added to salads and dishes
The chicory coffee
If you consider how he althy chicory is as a medicinal plant, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it has become a trendy coffee substitute. What used to be considered the coffee of the poor in times of scarce resources is absolutely in again. Many people who want to reduce or stop their caffeine consumption drink chicory coffee. This actually tastes very slightly nutty and stays very close to the original coffee taste. Chicory coffee is also easily digestible and promotes a he althy intestine and a strong immune system. Many also find it to be quite balancing and calming in contrast to the stimulating coffee. Others prefer a blend of regular coffee and some chicory for the perfect dose of caffeine and he althy indulgence.
Chicory coffee is he althy and delicious
Preparing a coffee from chicory, or more precisely from its root, is actually not that difficult. So if you would like to try it, it is definitely worth trying. Basically you should only get the root out of the ground, clean it well, wash it, cut it up and let it dry. This is then roasted and ground into a powder. This powder is then the coffee substitute and is brewed and strained as normal. Done!
Here in the video you can see the whole preparation even better
You can also use the other parts of the plant for cooking or to decorate the food
Depending on the desired amount of coffee, also get the necessary roots
This is what the roasted root pieces will look like
Take advantage of this remarkable treasure of wild nature!
Chicory also delights our eyes with its sky-blue blossoms
There are even chicory hybrids in pink
Chicory is one of the favorite food sources for bees
The chicory got its name because it is mainly found along the wayside