Part Used: Dried leaf & flower buds
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50–80 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the "heart"; the mass of inedible immature florets in the center of the bud are called the "choke." It is one of the world's oldest cultivated vegetables, grown by the Greeks and the Romans in the heyday of their power. It was introduced into this country in the early sixteenth century both as a vegetable and an ornamental plant in monastery gardens. The Artichoke was used as a food and medicine by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; in Rome, it was an important menu item at feasts. It has the following properties: antihepatotoxic (clears toxins in liver), antioxidant, liver and gallbladder bile stimulator, hepatoprotective (liver protector), hepatotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the liver), and hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol). Artichoke's medicinal properties are used for treating anemia, preventing arteriosclerosis, diabetes, high cholesterol, and kidney disease.
Artichoke has been used in traditional medicine for centuries as a specific liver and gallbladder remedy. In Brazilian herbal medicine systems, leaf preparations are used for liver and gallbladder problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, anemia, diarrhea (and elimination in general), fevers, ulcers, and gout. In Europe, it is also used for liver and gallbladder disorders; in several countries, standardized herbal drugs are manufactured and sold as prescription drugs for high cholesterol and digestive and liver disorders. Other uses around the world include treatment for dyspepsia and chronic albuminuria. In France, a patent has been filed that describes an Artichoke extract for treating liver disease, high cholesterol levels, and kidney insufficiency. In all herbal medicine systems where it is employed, Artichoke is used to increase bile production in the liver, increase the flow of bile from the gallbladder, and to increases the contractive power of the bile duct. These bile actions are beneficial in many digestive, gallbladder, and liver disorders. Artichoke is also often used to mobilize fatty stores in the liver and detoxify it, and as a natural aid to lower cholesterol. The active constituent of Artichoke is cynarin. The liver detoxifying and protective properties of Artichoke first came to the attention of researchers in 1966 (in a study that supported its effect on liver regeneration in rats). This herb is also very good for stomach complaints.
Rain-Tree Nutrition. http://www.rain-tree.com/artichoke.htm