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Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus), fam. Asteraceae.
Typical for prairie landscapes, also grows as a weed in the city in analogous (open and dry) places. Roots are used as food, but it is not practicable to pick them anywhere around DVRZ in Kyiv, since we have too little chicory, and almost all it is along polluted roads and railways.
Instead, there is a wide choice of ready-to-use soluble chicory (powder or thick paste) in food stores, to prepare beverages. Замість цього, у магазинах доступний широкий вибір готового розчинного цикорію (порошок чи густа паста) для приготування напоїв. The properties of chicory are mostly attributed to its predominant component, inulin, which is a polysaccharide that the plants of Asteraceae (e.g., Jerusalem Artichoke) family have instead of starch. Unlike the latter, inulin splits into fructose (not glucose) when digested. And this digestion goes much slower and not completely, to a significant part is left for beneficial gut bacteria. Besides, chicory contains a number of vitamins and minerals. Unlike coffee, it does not increase blood pressure; it also has antiinflammatory, sedative, antipyretic, and vasodilating effect. Nevertheless, chicory should not be considered a panacea, since its excessive use is not beneficial. It is counterindicated at vein varicosis and individual sensitivity. As in any fried product, it may contain a lot of undesirable component, like acrylamide. Its black color warns about this, as it is typical for food items where advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) formation has resulted from high-temperature treatment. Modern research links AGEs to accelerated aging; it is especially characteristic of the items high in fructose. In addition, most vitamins of chicory roots are damaged in the frying, drying and concentrating processes.
Few peolpe know that there are also salad varieties of chicory (endive), with tender leaves and reduced content of bitterness, common to this plant.