Common chicory (lat. Cichórium íntybus) is a species of perennial herbaceous plants from the genus Chicory (Cichorium) of the Asteraceae family.

Popular names: roadside grass, blue flower, Petrov’s batogi, Scherbak.

Common chicory is very widespread as a weed plant. It is easily recognizable by inflorescences-baskets, which consist only of reed blue flowers. But these baskets are opened only in the early morning hours, as well as in cloudy weather.

Common chicory is found in the temperate and tropical climates of Eurasia, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and from the British Isles to Eastern Siberia and India in the south, grows in northern Africa.

Usually grows in meadows, forest glades, grassy slopes, often as a weed plant in vacant lots, fields, near roads, near settlements. In the mountains rises to the middle mountain zone.

Common chicory is a perennial (for wild forms) or biennial (for cultivars) herbaceous plant with a long pivotal root and lactarias in all organs.

The stem is erect, rod-like, green or bluish-green, more or less branched, rough, 15-150 cm high. Branches are often strongly deflected, slightly thickened to the apex, bristly or curly-haired, often bare or almost naked, seem almost up to the top how small the leaves are here.

Basal leaves from sternate-pinnate to whole, more or less serrated along the edge, gradually narrowed at the base into the petiole; stem – relatively few, greatly reduced, from lanceolate-ovate to lanceolate, stem-volume.

The baskets are single, numerous or crowded several at the top of the stem, lateral branches and in the axils of the upper and middle stem leaves. Reed flowers. Corolla 15-25 mm long, various shades of blue, white or pink.

The fruit is a three-pentahedral achene, 2-3 mm long, light brown, oblong.

Chemical composition

The roots and leaves of the plant contain a large amount (up to 11%) of inulin polysaccharide, there are protein substances (4%), intibin glycoside, which gives them a specific bitter taste, tannins, organic acids, vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, carotene; coumarin glycosides found in flowers; in milky juice – bitter substances (lactucin, lactucopycrine, etc.); the seeds contain 15-28% fatty oil; in young leaves – carotene, ascorbic acid (up to 0.08%), inulin, potassium salts.

Due to the content of bitter substances in the milk juice, chicory increases appetite. Delicious aromatic drinks are obtained from the roots, which have an antimicrobial and astringent effect, increase appetite, reduce perspiration, and improve the functional state of the digestive system. According to experimental data, the infusion of chicory inflorescence has a calming effect on the central nervous system, tones the heart, has a choleretic effect.

Chicory is especially appreciated in the diet of diabetics. In clinical trials, positive results were obtained in the treatment of diabetes mellitus with chicory root extract: there was an improvement in the well-being of patients in the initial stage of the disease, in advanced cases, a partial decrease in urine sugar was achieved.

Chicory root is rich in oxalates and is therefore contraindicated in predisposed to kidney disease, suffering from low blood pressure, anemia or stomach ulcers.

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