Artichoke health benefits have been known since the 16th century and were highly regarded as an aphrodisiac, though it was not given much attention as a medicinal herb. Until the mid-20th century, it did not achieve great prestige as a remedy for hepatic and biliary diseases. Artichoke extracts are part of the composition of several medicines because of their notable medicinal actions on the liver and the body.
Artichoke Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name: Cynara scolymus L.
- French: Artichaut.
- Spanish: Alcachofa.
- Environment: Common in Mediterranean countries but cultivated in warm regions worldwide.
- Description: Plant of the Compositae family, growing up to 1.5 m high, with large, growing up to 1.5 m tall, with large, segmented, greyish-green leaves, and violet flower heads surrounded by bracts (false leaves) with an edible base.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaves, stem, and root of the plant and the flower heads (artichokes).
Artichoke Health Benefits
The active components of artichoke, which concentrate mainly in its leaves, are cynarine (a bitter component) and flavonic derivatives of lutein. The plant is rich in enzymes, inulin (a sugar relatively well-tolerated by diabetic people), potassium, and manganese. Although the excellent artichoke, that is to say, the flower head of the plant, also shares the aforementioned medicinal properties. The plant’s leaves, stems, and roots should be used to achieve an essential therapeutic effect. The properties of the artichoke plant are as follows:
- Choleretic (increases bile secretion) and hepatoprotective (antitoxic). It is recommended for dyspepsia or biliary colic and hepatic insufficiency. In the case of hepatitis, artichoke is highly recommended.
- Hypolipemic: The plant decreases the level of cholesterol in the blood, and other lipids, being thus recommended for arteriosclerosis.
- Hypoglycemic: Due to its content in inulin, artichoke is an excellent food for people with diabetes. It promotes the decrease of the level of sugar in the blood.
- Diuretic, depurative, and urea are eliminated: Very appropriate for albuminuria and kidney insufficiency.
How to use Artichoke
- Infusion of leaves, stem, and root: 50 to 100 grams per liter of water. Drink three cups daily, before meals if possible.
- Fresh juice, prepared with the leaves. Drink a glass with every meal.
- Dry extract: The recommended dose is one or two grams daily if the sour flavor of infusions or juice is not tolerated.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 387. Print. [artichoke health benefits]