Chicory is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive in the plant's Mediterranean region of origin. It is grown in complete darkness, to keep new leaves tender and pale. The plant species is native to Europe, from where it was transported to other parts of the world, and grows in abundance there. Today, the herb is found growing wild in the fields of North America and also in the temperate zones of the world. Fully grown chicory herb reach up to a height of about 3 to more than 5 feet. Commercially, the plant is widely cultivated in parts of Europe, as the roasted root of the herb serves as an additive in coffee.
In terms of nutritive value, chicory is a great source of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron folic acid, and potassium, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K. These are the main agents behind all of the health benefits that come from chicory.
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