Chicory is another fine if lowly weed, with pale, lovely blue flowers. This daisy petaled flower blossoms from July to September, emerging each morning and fading by noon all along waysides and meadows.
FoodAs with dandelion, the young tender leaves are used in summer salads or blanched as a vegetable. But again as with dandelion use the plant before the flowers form, otherwise it will taste too bitter.
Coffee The root has been used for centuries as "coffee" or a coffee extender in the same way as described for dandelion root. I first came across chicory coffee in the French Quarter in New Orleans. It is quite bitter but, like the dandelion, is also a mild tonic, a liver cleanser, and is slightly laxative and mildly diuretic (releases retained fluids).
As you undoubtedly know by now, true coffee is not only expensive, but should be used only in moderation. There seems to be a connection between high coffee intake and heart attacks. You should not drink coffee if you have high blood pressure, and it is a virtual poison for arthritis and other systemic disease sufferers. (Oddly enough, coffee enemas help to depoison and detoxify the body. Don't use them too often; the action is immediate and strong.)
Use all sorts of herbal teas as coffee replacement. Learn to combine the various mints along with cloves, a dash of cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use honey and vanilla extract (there are some wonderful pure ones on the market) with these teas, or with linden, which makes another fine herbal drink. Chamomile will relax you and overcome spasms.
Essence Besides using the leaves of chicory for salads or a cooked green, and the root for a hot beverage, there is still another unique and charming use for chicory this time for the flowers. Pick them early in the day, and let them soak in fresh water in the sun. Strain the liquid, Store the essence of the water, and add a few drops of it to the tea of those who are on a crying jag, or unduly possessive and overcritical of others! Chicory is an integral part of the (Dr. Edward) Bach Flower Remedies.