Uses And Benefits Of Chicory Seed
There are numerous benefits chicory seed provides, along with leaves and roots. Chicory, a native of southern Europe and the Mediterranean area, is grown in many areas for culinary uses, including in the southeastern United States. The chicory root, when ground and roasted, is used as a coffee-like beverage or as addition to coffee, indeed one of the names for chicory is the coffee-plant. The leaves can be used in salads, and a tea can be made form the flowers. Chicory tea is said to be good for the skin. Some grow chicory for medicinal purposes, while others sow chicory seed for forage to feed livestock.
Nutritional And Medical Properties - Chicory seed, the roots, and the leaves all have medicinal properties. The seeds have tonic and diuretic properties, and can also serve as an effective laxative. Chicory seed is said to be effective in treating certain liver disorders as well as offering relief to those suffering from gout or rheumatic pain.
The leaves of the chicory plant, also known as endive, are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including several of the B-complex vitamins, vitamins A and C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Chicory is an especially rich source of vitamin A. The leaves contain roughly 2% vegetable protein and 1% fiber. The balance of the leaves is mostly water.
As mentioned, one of the medicinal uses of chicory is as a laxative. The seeds are also said to benefit the urinary tract and especially the gall bladder. The vitamin A and carotene in the plant promotes good eye health, and chicory is even claimed to correct certain eye defects. Some experience side effects when consuming chicory leaves, and a few are allergic to the chicory seed, though the allergy does not appear to be particularly widespread.
As A Wildflower Plant - Among the other uses one will find for chicory seed is in the wildflower garden and in a plot set aside for wildlife, with animals foraging on the leaves, and birds eating the seeds. The pale blue flowers make a pleasant addition to any wildflower garden. Many packets of mixed wildflower seeds on the market will contain chicory seeds. The seeds can be planted in s small plot or broadcast over a wide area, such as in a pasture where they provide flowers, seeds, and forage, to be enjoyed by people, wildlife, and domestic animals as well. Chicory can be grown in any region of the United States though it is prohibited in Colorado, possibly due to its potential as an invasive weed.
As A Forage Plant - Most of the chicory seed planted, in terms of sheer volume, would be as forage for livestock. 5 pounds of seeds per acre will yield approximately 50 pounds of forage, forage which is considered to be even more nutritional than alfalfa. Chicory seed is often sown in combination with alfalfa, grasses, and other pasture seeds. Chicory holds up well under grazing, and its deep taproot makes the crop quite drought tolerant. In Europe, chicory has been a mainstay as a forage crop for several hundred years, but is fairly new as a forage crop in the United States.
Summary - The chicory plant is a very useful plant, and the chicory seed itself has many uses. It's not every plant where one can use the leaves, roots, flowers, and the seeds for such a variety of purposes. One can purchase a packet of chicory seed for a small garden plot for about the same price as most vegetable or flower seeds. For a larger plot, wildflower garden, or pasture, chicory seed sells for approximately $5 per pound.