Chicory is in the dandelion family Asteraceae. Its stem is hairy, its leaves are stalked, and its flowers are typically bright blue. The roots of chicory are ground up and roasted to make a coffee substitute. The granules can also be used as an additive to coffee to add a bitter taste. During the Great Depression, it was widely used in homes in the United States to stretch a supply of coffee. Chicory root is rich in beta-carotene. It has a mild laxative effect. It can decrease swelling, and it can increase bile from the gallbladder.