Endive (Cichorium endiva)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cichorium endiva

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The plant is used as a resolvent and cooling medicine, and in the treatment of bilious complaints[240]. It has a similar but milder effect to chicory (Cichorium intybus) and so is a very beneficial tonic to the liver and digestive system[254].

    The root is demulcent and tonic[240]. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia and fevers[240].

    The fruit (this probably means the seed[K]) has been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, bilious complaints and jaundice[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[2, 16, 27, 33, 46, 52, 171]. Leaves of wild plants are very bitter but there are many named forms with only a slight bitterness[183]. The leaves are quite large and often form a rosette like cabbages. They are very easy to harvest. Endive makes a very acceptable addition, in moderate quantities, to the salad bowl, though the leaves are too bitter for most tastes to be used as the main salad leaf[K]. The leaves are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) in order to reduce this bitterness[200], though this process also reduces the nutritional value of the plant[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow in situ early to mid July for an autumn and winter crop and up to mid August for succession. Seedlings can be transplanted[200]. Successional sowings can also be made from April onwards for a summer crop though these plants are liable to bolt in hot weather or if there is a cold snap in late spring[1, 200].
Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil[200]. Prefers a medium to light sandy or gravelly soil that is rich in humus[1, 34, 37]. Prefers a sunny position[200] but with light shade in the summer to prevent plants running to seed[33]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.3 to 8.3. Endive is often cultivated, especially in Europe, for its edible leaves[46], there are many named varieties[183]. These varieties can be divided into two main types, the plain-leafed and the curly-leafed. Although more decorative, the curly-leafed forms are less suitable for late autumn/winter use because they are less hardy and their leaves tend to hold moisture and therefore encourage mildew and other disease problems[200, K]. In Britain, the plants grow best in Cornwall[142]. Through successional sowing, and careful selection of varieties, it is possible to obtain leaves all year round[K]. The main season of availability is autumn to early winter, though this can be extended through the winter if the plants are given protection[200]. A combination of low temperatures and short days causes the plants to flower[200].
S. Europe to E. Asia – India.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.