The artichoke is a 2 meter high, strongly ramified biannual culture plant. It is one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables. The artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. Artichokes only have about 25 calories.
Medicinal effects: It stimulates the metabolization of the cholesterol in the liver; it is diuretic, tonic, depurative, hypoglycaemic.
Parts used: Phytotherapy uses the artichoke leaves.
What are the health benefits of artichokes?
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarin, an active chemical constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain cynarin.
This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function, gall bladder function, and raising of HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. Artichoke Cynara scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of IBS.