Thursday, May 24, 2012


All cultivated plants originally came from wild stock and our salad greens are no exception. The garden varieties of lettuce and endive have been selected for taste but the wild kind retain more of the medicinal effects.

Wild lettuce in late spring

Wild lettuce (Lactuca species) may look and taste bitter like  dandelion leaves but it packs a much greater nervine wallup. The milky juice of fresh leaves picked in late spring or early summer before the yellow flowers bloom can be tinctured in high proof alcohol to make a strong sedative and analgesic, particularly for those with insomnia due to back or chest pain or to feeling cold at night.

Chicory flower in late summer

The soft blue flowers of chicory (Cichorium intybus) blossoming along summer roadsides belie the digestive power of wild Belgian endive, also known as radicchio. It's ability to promote food digestion, absorption, metabolism, and elimination (bowel function) is enhanced by slow roasting of the chopped roots.

Young chicory and wild lettuce look alike with a basal rosette of toothed leaves similar to dandelion. The flowering stems of chicory branch wildly in late summer without the spiky stems and regular foliage of wild lettuce.  

HERBALIST'S NOTE: Pull up chicory roots after a soaking rain when the deep taproots let go of the earth easier.


1) Use a vegetable brush to scrub about a dozen fresh chicory roots;
2) Chop the roots into coffee bean sized pieces and place them on a roasting pan;
3) Roast in a 350 degree oven until a nutty aroma is released and they are dark brown but not burnt, about 30-45 minutes;
4) Allow them to cool and store them in a jar with a sealed lid;
5) Grind and brew like coffee or combine with equal parts coffee for the stimulant effect or roasted dandelion root for the diuretic effect.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog comment roasted chicory I like chicory extract this is hallty is the valuable herb which for a long time has won popularity in national medicine.roasted chicory was also often prescribed by herbalists of recent centuries to cure a whole host of ailments; the herbalist of the middle ages often recommended herbal remedies made from the roasted chicory as tonics, as laxatives, and as diuretics.