In her delightful book Catnip and Kerosene Grass: What Plants Teach Us About Life (Candlenut, 2002), Herbs for Health contributor Gina Mohammed, Ph.D., invites a closer look at chicory (Cichorium intybus). This eye-catching wildflower grows by North American roadsides, blooming with blue daisy-like flowers in midsummer.
Chicory’s roots have been roasted and used since Napoleon’s time as a coffee substitute, and ground chicory is an ingredient in some coffee blends today. Chicory lacks caffeine and, when infused, gives coffee a bitter taste and dark color. The herb can be a satisfying alternative for those who can’t drink coffee.
“Life’s pleasures don’t have to be complicated, costly or restricted to cultivated tastes,” Mohammed writes. “They can often be found by the wayside. But how easy to overlook them as we hurry along the road to someplace else.”
Source: Mohammed, Gina. Catnip and Kerosene Grass: What Plants Teach Us About Life. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada: Candlenut Books, 2002.