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Cichorium intybus L., Asteraceae. Chicory, succory. Distribution: Uses: 'Cichory, (or Succory as the vulgar call it) cools and strengthens the liver: so doth Endive' (Culpeper, 1650). The Cichorium sylvestre, Wilde Succorie, of Gerard (1633) and the leaves cooked into a soup for ill people. Linnaeus (1782) reported it was used for Melancholia, Hypochondria, Hectica [fever], haemorrhage and gout. Root contains 20% inulin, a sweetening agent. Dried, roasted and ground up the roots are used as a coffee substitute, best known as Camp coffee (Chicory and Coffee essence). This used to be sold in tall square section bottle with a label showing a circa 1885 army tent with a Sikh soldier standing and serving coffee to a seated officer from the Gordon Highlanders. The bottle on the label has now moved on, and since 2006 it shows the same tent but the Sikh and the Scot are now both seated, drinking Camp coffee together. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
- Dr Henry Oakeley