This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Cichoreum silvestre five officinarum C. B. Cichorium Intybus Linn. Wild cichory: a plant with oblong, dark green, somewhat hairy leaves, deeply jagged, like those of dandelion, but larger; in the bosoms of which, towards the tops of the branches, the flowers come forth in spikes, consisting, each, of a number of blue flat flofculi, set in a scaly cup, which afterwards becomes a covering to several short angular seeds: the root is long and slender, of a brown colour on the outside, and white within. It is biennial, grows in hedges and by road sides, and flowers in June and July.
Wild cichory abounds with a milky juice, of a penetrating bitterish taste, and of no remarkable smell or particular flavour: the roots are bitterer than the leaves or stalks, and these much more so than the flowers. By culture in gardens it loses its green colour, and in great measure its bitterness, and in this state is a common sallad herb. The darker coloured, and the more deeply jagged the leaves are, the bitterer is the taste of all the parts of the plant.
The roots and leaves of wild cichory are very useful aperients, acting mildly and without irritation, tending rather to abate than to in-crease heat, and which may therefore be given with safety in hectic and inflammatory cases. Taken freely, they keep the belly open, or procure a gentle diarrhoea; and when thus continued for some time, they have often proved salutary in beginning obstructions of the viscera, in jaundices, cachexies, hypochondriacal and other chronical disorders. Geoffroy relates, that he has known inveterate and stubborn intermit-tents cured by the daily use of wild cichory leaves, after many febrifuges had been tried in vain.
The virtues of the cichory reside in the milky juice; and may be extracted by expression, or by infusing or boiling the herb or root in water or in spirit. The plant seems to lose nothing of its taste in drying; or the juice or infusions in being gently infpiffated to the consistence of an extract; though the plant in its recent state, or the liquors uninfpiffated, are supposed to be of most efficacy. The watery extract is somewhat larger in quantity than the spirituous, and this last is proportionably strongest in taste.