This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
The "Wild Chicory, or Succory (Cichorium), is an English roadside plant, with flowers (white, or blue), and which is also called "Turnsole,"a Sunflower. Its fresh root is bitter, with a milky juice which is somewhat aperient, and slightly sedative; whilst on good authority the plant has been pronounced useful against pulmonary consumption. In Germany it is known as Wegwort, "waiting on the way,", being by repute a metamorphosed Princess watching for her faithless lover. When cultivated, the root grows to.be large, and constitutes Chicory, as used abundantly in France for blending with the coffee berry. This plant when wild was known to the Romans in the days of Horace, being then eaten as a vegetable, or in salads:
- "Me pascunt olivae, Me ciohorea, levesque malvae".
Virgil also tells of the Amaris intuba fibris. And in modern days Tusser (1573), who was so well acquainted with the virtues and uses of our homely herbs, rhymes concerning "Endive and Suckerie "thus: -
"Cold herbes in the garden for agues that burne, That ouer strong heate to good temper may turn".
The "Violet plates,"(or tablets), which were a favourite confection in the days of the merry monarch Charles the Second, were made not simply of sweet violets, but also the heavenly blue of Succory flowers entered into their composition. "Violet plate,"it was said by a contemporary writer, "is most pleasant and wholesome, and especially it comforteth the heart, and inward parts." "The Violet is good to don in potage."The Succory was pronounced by Parkinson (who was physician to both Charles and James), to be "a fine cleansing, jovial plant." Its tap-root is cultivated in Prance.