Wild Chicory has been used for over 5,000 years by those in the know about its many health benefits .
It’s leaves are a bitter leaf that adds fantastic flavour to a salad, or a mix of sautéed veggies.
Raw chicory greens are a good source of thiamin, niacin, and zinc.
They’re also a great source of dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Though all of the leaves are completely edible, the young leaves are the best for eating. They are less bitter and a less tough.
The leaves look very similar to that of the dandelion plant with which they are closely related.
The flowers contain many of the same vitamins and are also edible, but are slightly bitter, so you may not want to eat too many at once.
Chicory root is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese.
By taking the root, roasting it to golden brown, and then grinding it, and brewing it, you get a great coffee substitute.
Chicory coffee has been found to have antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory effects therefore beneficial to cardiovascular health .
The antioxidant components found in the root can improve liver toxicity.
It also contains a prebiotic called inulin which is food for healthy gut bacteria and helps regulate the digestive system most specifically the bowel.
Most importantly chicory is a valuable source of nectar for bees . (Photos; Chicory living at Clondarrig Farm )