Other Names of Artichoke: Artichoke, artischocke, alcachofa, alcachofra, artichaut, carciofo, edible thistle

Useful Parts of the Plant: Leaves, fruit

Artichoke, also known as edible thistle, is a thistle-like herb that can be consumed for its many medicinal and therapeutic benefits. The artichoke plant contains several active compounds that have different medicinal uses. Artichoke is a perennial thistle that originated in Southern parts of Europe. While once it was only used for medicinal purposes, artichoke is today used in a lot of exotic recipes and is also used for garnishing. The lower portions of the plant and the fruit are edible, so they are primarily used in the preparation of various food items. Today, artichoke is widely cultivated, especially in the southern and western parts of Europe, some parts of Africa and North America.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Artichoke

There are lots of modern studies that have indicated the presence of high amounts of antioxidants in artichokes. Artichokes also contain phytonutrients that are very healthy for your body. In fact, it is the vegetable with the highest amount of antioxidants. Artichokes are naturally abundant in two phytonutrients which are silymarin and cynarin. Artichokes, apart from being extremely healthy, are also rich in soluble fiber, and are therefore extremely nutritious. Since the typical American diet is considered to be lacking in healthy fiber, adding artichokes to your meals can help you add the requisite fiber content to it. This makes artichokes more satiating. A single artichoke has more fiber than 2 cups of prunes. Artichokes are perhaps most well-known for being a low calorie food. They are fat free and have no calories related to any kind of fats. This makes them an ideal food for when you are trying to lose weight. Artichokes are also very low in cholesterol and sodium. Apart from that, artichokes also have a lot of soluble fiber, are a good source of vitamin C, and are also rich in folates. They also contain trace amounts of magnesium.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Artichoke

  • Being high in antioxidants, artichokes are helpful as anti-carcinogens. They can help eliminate free radicals from your body, therefore helping you improve overall functioning of your body. They also promote cell life of individual cells, so that they last longer and continue to maintain healthy functioning of the various organ systems.
  • The flavonoids in the artichokes help enhance the functioning of the body and reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women of all ages.
  • Artichoke pulp is high in polyphenols known as cynarin. This active compound stimulates the production and flow of bile, therefore improving the digestion of fats. Studies have also shown that artichokes can help the liver regenerate its ailing cells, therefore improving liver functioning and treating liver diseases and ailments.
  • Artichokes are rich in soluble fiber, which can help aid in the digestion of food. Artichokes are also diuretics and can improve the functioning of the gall bladder. Due to their high fiber content, artichokes keep you full for longer and help you curb your appetite. A single artichoke contains about half of the daily recommended intake of fiber.
  • Artichokes are also considered extremely healthy for those who have a hangover. A portion of artichoke, the morning after you have had heavy drinking, can help you get over your hangover. The leaves of artichoke can be boiled to brew a tea. This tea can help suppress the symptoms of a hangover.
  • The leaves and the fruit of artichokes can also be used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. They help in raising good cholesterol and therefore lower the bad cholesterol in the body.

Other Uses of Artichoke

  • Some people like to dry artichokes and use them for making potpourri or for home decorations.