Edible Parts: Leaves.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Leaves of wild plants are very bitter but there are many named forms with only a slight bitterness. 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. The leaves are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) in order to reduce this bitterness, though this process also reduces the nutritional value of the plant.
Demulcent; Febrifuge; Resolvent; Stomachic; Tonic.
The plant is used as a resolvent and cooling medicine, and in the treatment of bilious complaints. It has a similar but milder effect to chicory (Cichorium intybus) and so is a very beneficial tonic to the liver and digestive system. The root is demulcent and tonic. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia and fevers. The fruit (this probably means the seed) has been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, bilious complaints and jaundice.
Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil. Prefers a medium to light sandy or gravelly soil that is rich in humus. Prefers a sunny position but with light shade in the summer to prevent plants running to seed. Through successional sowing it is possible to obtain leaves all year round. The main season of availability is autumn to early winter, though this can be extended through the winter if the plants are given protection. A combination of low temperatures and short days causes the plants to flower.