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aka Garden Artichoke
Note: Spelling of the scientific name varies. These include: scolymus, scolamus, scolimus.
Globe artichoke is native to the Mediterranean area and has been used since ancient times (known to have been used by ancient Greeks and Romans) as a vegetable (the unopened flower buds). Globe artichoke was introduced into Britain in the early 16th century as a vegetable and ornamental in monastary gardens.
Globe artichoke is a good source of vegetable protein, vitamin A, niacin, potassium, enzymes (leaves and roots) and iron, cynarin (compound which is found in leaves and improves liver and gall bladder function and lowers blood cholesterol levels), bitter principle (cynarin and sesquiterpene lactones), alkaloids, tannins, cynarase (milk-curdling enzyme), cyanose (aids digestion).
Globe Artichoke as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
The ancient Greeks and Romans regarded artichoke as a valuable digestive aid and the relatively rare plant was reserved for consumption primarily by the elite. In the Middle Ages in Europe, the artichoke was consumed primarily by the royal and the rich.
In traditional European medicine, the leaves of the artichoke were used as a diuretic and as a choleretic to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver and gall bladder. A choleretic stimulates the liver to increase output of bile.
In Europe, the artichoke was historically considered an aphrodisiac food, though this use appears baseless.
More recently its medicinal effects have been noted. Artichoke leaf may increase bile production, protect the liver, reduce cholesterol, promote urination, and stimulate the appetite.
Germany’s Commission E approves the use of artichoke leaf for dyspeptic problems.
Dyspepsia generally refers to indigestion, including stomach discomfort, and unease in the GI tract.
Other Medicinal Uses
- Extract of roots and leaves has been used to help prevent arteriosclerosis.
- Tincture has been used to stimulate appetite.
- To improve mental alertness; leaves seem to be pharmacologically active in the brain and portions of the central nervous system.
- Has been used for cholesterol management; to reduce blood lipids, serum cholesterol and blood sugar.
- An anti-cholesterol drug – Cynara – is derived from this plant.
You can purchase artichoke in tablet form or liquid form. Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) extract is 100 percent pure, cold pressed extract. It is of high potency and organic. Every nutrient of this herb is fully extracted and preserved. The recommended dosage is 10 to 20 drops 3 times per day.
Preparation Methods: Powdered herb, teas, capsules and extracts. Unless otherwise prescribed, 6g per day of dried cut leaves, pressed juice of fresh plant, and other equivalent preparations for internal use.
Leaf: 2 g, three times daily.
Infusion: Artichoke leaf is not typically prepared as an infusion.
Dry extract 12:1 (w/w): 0.5 g single daily dose.
Fluid extract 1:1 (g/ml): 2 ml, three times daily.
Tincture 1:5 (g/ml): 6 ml, three times daily.
Tincture for managing cholesterol: Slightly crush and soak about 5-1/4 cups artichoke leaves in 2 pints of alcohol (or 80 or 100 proof vodka) for 10 days. Strain and take 1 tablespoon two times daily in between meals. Said to keep serum triglyceride levels low.
Mental Alertness: Pull individual leaves from the artichoke and put into a jar with barely enough water to cover; set saucer on jar and stand it in a pan of boiling water for 2 hours, adding more water to pan as it boils away. Remove jar and strain contents, squeezing leaves well. Use 3 to 4 tablespoons of this infusion 3 times daily.
Potent diuretic: Mix juice of artichoke with an equal quanity of wine.
Slimming Herbal Tea: 1 handful cherry stalks, 1/2 handful artichoke leaves, 1 handful corn silk, 1 handful rose petals; infuse in 1 liter of water and drink 2 cups daily.
Culinary Uses of Globe Artichoke
- The ray flowerets are used to curdle goat and sheep milk strongly enough to make a good hard cheese.
- The unopened flower buds are boiled and eaten hot or cold and usually with a sauce of some type or melted butter.
- The tender central leaf stalks can be blanched and eaten like cardoon.
- Italians often eat them raw with salt, oil and pepper.
- Leaves can be rubbed with olive oil and then a few slices of garlic tucked into the leaves and then steamed for 30 to 40 minutes.
If allergic to other members of the Aster family, Artichoke could be a problem. Do not use when bile duct obstruction or gallstones present.
Can possibly enhance the activity of cholesterol lowering drugs.
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