Re: Re: chicory - more than you really want to know
Thanks so much - very interesting reading!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 5/9/2004 7:28:57 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] chicory - more than you really want to know
> This publication has, from time to time, reported on the ongoing discussion
> concerning native plants as opposed to "invasive aliens," and the political
> aspects of this matter. As we drive through the countryside this month, surely
> we enjoy the beauty of blue Chicory flowers and white Queen Anne's Lace that
> line our roadsides. And yet, neither of these plants is native to this
> continent, and both can be considered invasive under certain circumstances.
> Chicory (Cichorium intybus) has been cultivated for at least 5,000 years
> for medicinal and culinary properties, some of which are still recognized today.
> The name, chicory, is thought to be of Egyptian origin, and with only minor
> variations, has been absorbed into virtually every European language. The
> other name of chicory, endive is derived from another ancient Eastern name,
> hendibeh. Yes, both types of endive; the rather rough bitter greens we pronounce to
> rhyme with "dive", and the fancy, expensive, blanched, tightly-wrapped, heads
> we pronounce in the French fashion as "ahn-deeve" are varieties of chicory.
> Early Greeks and Romans enjoyed chicory both as a vegetable and as a salad
> ingredient. Charlemagne demanded that chicory be planted in his gardens, and
> the French drank a coffee-like brew of the root before coffee itself was
> introduced into Europe in the sixteenth century.
> Queen Elizabeth I drank a broth made from chicory, though it was not much
> planted in England in her day.
> Thomas Jefferson considered chicory "a tolerable sallad for the table." He
> raised his chicory from seeds it is believed he imported from Italy. In
> 1795, he recommended the plant to fellow farmer, George Washington, as a fine
> cattle fodder.
> To this day, in some parts of Europe and the American South the favorite
> coffee contains a blend of chicory. One author notes that chicory is never a
> coffee substitute - it's a coffee flavorer. Fine chefs in New Orleans consider a
> 10% chicory blend to be optimal, but in the bayou country, a 25% blend is
> favored. To obtain this, the root is dried and ground, and really looks just
> like coffee. However, although it contains 10 of the 24 chemical ingredients of
> coffee, it has no caffeine.
> In addition to chicory's use as a vegetable, for which it is extensively
> grown in Belgium, chicory has a long history of medicinal uses, especially for
> problems of the liver. It has also been credited with sharpening the appetite,
> relieving urinary infections and ridding the body of impurities. A decoction
> of the root was long considered beneficial to diabetics, as it lowers
> blood-sugar levels. It was also recommended to relieve arthritis and gout, and as a
> treatment for jaundice.
> And finally, we may add the brilliant blue blossoms to our list of edible
> flowers. They make a colorful addition to salads if picked early in the day,
> but they are morning-bloomers and fade with the passage of the day. There is
> an early-seventeenth century recipe for a conserve of chicory flowers which was
> sometimes used in the treatment of tuberculosis.
> These versatile and useful plants may be cultivated in the garden, but they
> also freely adorn our roadsides, often accompanied by the delicate white
> discs of wild carrot, Daucus carota or Queen Anne's Lace. This member of the
> Umbellifera or Parsley family bears the same botanical name as the cultivated
> carrot. Like chicory, carrots have been cultivated since the earliest times
> throughout the Mediterranean basin. The word carota, was used by both early Greeks
> and Romans, and modern Greeks still call the carrot karoto.
> Carrots were not introduced to the British Isles until the reign of
> Elizabeth I, when it was brought by Protestant Flemings fleeing their homeland to
> escape religious persecution by Philip II of Spain. Fashionable ladies quickly
> adopted the delicate leaves and flowers to adorn their headdresses. It was a
> favorite of Queen Anne, but it is not clear how the legend developed that
> credits the single dark red floret in the center of each flower-head to a drop of
> the monarch's blood when she pricked her finger while making lace.
> Although both wild and cultivated carrots are rich sources of vitamin A,
> and have been valued for their antiseptic and other medicinal properties since
> ancient times, the wild ones are considered medicinally superior. All parts
> of the plant are used, and the list of conditions for which it is beneficial is
> A pulp of the freshly-grated root is used to treat all sorts of skin
> diseases. A decoction of the roots is recommended as a remedy for coughs, asthma,
> flatulence, stomach ulcers, kidney stones, and to improve night vision.
> In France, studies have indicated that drinking a wineglassful of fresh
> juice of the roots promotes immunity to upper respiratory infections.
> The green leaves, macerated in honey, provide a soothing treatment for open
> sores and ulcers.
> Even the little red floret has been credited with medicinal virtues.
> Chewing it was believed to prevent epileptic seizures.
> Given all these virtues, should we not be thankful that we have been
> invaded by these aliens? T
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