The artichoke is a member of the thistle family and is cultivated as a vegetable

By: Taylor


The artichoke is a member of the thistle family and is cultivated as a vegetable. The edible portion of the plant is buds that form within the flower heads – before the flower comes into bloom. When the artichoke blooms to a flower, it’s inedible. The uncultivated or wild, variety of the species is called a “Cardoon”. The artichoke is a perennial plant that is native to the Mediterranean region of the world.

Cultivation of the artichoke today is concentrated in countries which border the Mediterranean basin. Italy tops the list as the largest producer of artichokes. In the United States California produces 100% of the U.S. crop with 80% grown in Monterey County. Within Monterey County, the town of Castroville has self-proclaimed itself to be the “Artichoke Center of the World”. Recently, artichokes have been grown in a small town in South Africa located along the Vaal River.

History of Artichokes

The Cardoon (wild artichoke) has records of use as a food among the ancient Romans and Greeks. The seeds of the artichoke were found in Egypt, North Africa during the excavation of Roman-period Mons Claudianus. Globe artichokes were known to have been cultivated in Napes in the mid-9th century and further improvements on cultivations appears to have taken place in Muslim Spain and Maghreb during the medieval period through the evidence to that is inferential only. However, many of the names for artichoke in many European languages comes from medieval Arabic word via late medieval Spain.

Le Roy Ladurie’s book “Les Paysans de Languedoc” documents the spread of artichoke cultivation in Italy and southern France during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. It was the Dutch who introduced the artichoke to England, where in 1530, they grew in the garden of King Henry VIII. Artichokes were brought to the United States in the 19th century when the French immigrants brought them to Louisiana and the Spanish immigrants brought them to California.

Health Benefits of Artichoke

As an ingredient in medicine, artichoke is used to treat heartburn.
Artichoke has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, while increasing good cholesterol.
The USDA studied the health benefits of the artichoke and found that it contains more antioxidants than any other vegetable. It also ranked number seven out of 1,000 foods in an antioxidant study. Antioxidants in artichoke are: Silumarin, Luteolin, Cynarin, Anthocyanins, Rutin and Quercertin.
Artichokes are rich in Vitamin C, Calcium and Magnesium. It is highly effective in treating mineral deficiencies.
Artichoke leaf extract reduces cell proliferation and induce cell death in many forms of cancer including prostate cancer, leukemia and breast cancer.
An Italian study shows that a diet rich in flavonoids – which are present in artichokes – reduce the risks of breast cancer.
The pulp of artichoke leaves contains a polyphenol antioxidant called Cynarin which increases bile flow.
Artichokes have been used for centuries as a folk or alternative treatment for liver ailments, recent studies now prove those treatments correct. Recent studies have shown antioxidants such as Cynarin and Sulimarin – found in artichokes – are beneficial to the liver and even regenerate liver tissue.
Artichokes are a natural diuretic, they aid digestion and improve the function of the gallbladder.
One large artichoke contains a quarter of the recommended daily intake of fiber. A medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes therefore it works to increase and maintain a healthy digestive system.
Due to its positive effect on the liver, artichokes are a popular relief from hangover.
Artichoke contains a high level of folate (Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid) which if consumed during pre-pregnancy and pregnancy, can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn baby
Artichoke is a rich source of Vitamin Kwhich has a role in promoting healthy bone formation. Vitamin K also limits neuronal damage to the brain and has been established as part if a treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Artichokes are a rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
Artichoke is rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is a requirement for the production of red blood cells. Iron is a requirement for red blood cell formation.
Artichoke extracts are used in medicine in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heartburn, joint pain, edema (water retention) anemia, bladder infections, liver problems, arthritis.

For more information visit: http://www.unsafedrugs.com/artichoke/

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