Artichoke Leaf

Artichoke Leaf

cynara scolymus

Artichoke Leaves help aide digestion, keep our livers healthy and our hearts happy. When taken daily, you help detoxify the body which will make you feel energized throughout the day.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves, Flower Bud
  • Side Effects: Avoid if you have a known bile duct obstruction
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About Artichoke Leaf

Artichoke is an edible, herbaceous perennial plant that is scientifically termed as Cynara scolymus, waving from the family Asteraceae. The plant can attain a height of 4 to 6 ft. Artichoke is further characterized by glaucus green leaves that are approximately 30inches long and quite deeply lobed. Its flowers are purple-colored that sprout out from the edible fleshy bud.

Artichoke is considered to be originated from Ethiopia. It has a rich history with ancient Egyptians and Romans, where it was highly prized because of its purported medicinal benefits. Artichoke leaves and buds are utilized to ameliorate a bad lipid profile. It is also used as an adjunct therapy to support asthma, urticarial, bile stones (by acting as potent cholagogue), eczema, various liver disorders, stomach ache, and pyrexia (fever).

Apart from the medicinal services, the tender bud and leaves of artichoke can be incorporated into cooking recipes to either steam them or make a pickle. Artichoke also tastes divine when it is added to the vegetable soup.

Artichoke has biologically active constituents that are held responsible for its pharmacological actions, including cynarin, apigenin, and luteolin. Before adding artichoke leaf to your diet, it is better to have word with physician/pharmacist as it can cause flatulence and diarrhea in people who are allergic to the plants of the Asteraceae family.

Growing

Artichoke requires a lot of room to grow as they are quite big. They can be either planted outdoors or indoors, garden beds or containers, how-so-ever the gardener likes. They can be planted either by making use of seeds or well-established roots in spring or fall.

This tall architectural plant should be spaced at least 4 feet apart to grow healthily. It must also be provided with full sun exposure and well-drained fertile soil. Also, it requires water frequently (about two to three times weekly) to keep the buds pulpy and fresh but at the same time, the soil must be able to drain quickly to prevent root rots.

During winters, mulch can be added to prevent the loss of moisture.

The artichoke seeds take around two to three weeks to sprout. After sprouting, the plant grows at a medium pace and gives out prickly leaves.

Artichoke enters its flowering phase after two years of sprouting. If the climate is warm, then the plant can produce its very own signature purple blooms prematurely. The pollination can either be done insects or by agitating the male flowers manually/wind to release the pollens. The pollens then fuse with the egg of female flowers to bring about fertilization.

The fertilization leads to the formation of seeds that lay the foundation of the upcoming daughter plant of the artichoke to continue with the lifecycle.

Harvesting

Artichoke leaves can be harvested any time of the year. The buds of artichoke flourish all around the year. They begin to develop in summer but should be harvested when they mature up to the size of at least 3 inches.

The seeds of artichoke can be harvested when the purple blooms are all dry and brittle to touch.

Artichoke leaves and buds can be cut with sharp knives or shears whereas, the seeds can be collected by shaking the dried flowers in a paper bag, tray, or any sort of collection unit.

The buds should be consumed freshly whereas, the leaves must be washed, pat dried, and splayed on dehydrator or oven. The leaves are checked for brittleness and taken out to be crushed and stored in an airtight container for later use.

Usage

Artichoke is not much popular but its medicinal value has started to infiltrate different borders of the world. So, herbalists are working a lot for the welfare of mankind to prepare a blend of natural medications.

  • Tincture -  Infuse fresh or dried chopped artichoke leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Fresh or dried artichoke leaves are boiled with water for 20 minutes then strained. A lemon can be squeezed with a dash of honey to add some perkiness.
  • Decoction - Dried artichoke leaves are rolled to boil in the water for an hour. The plant material is then strained to produce artichoke decoction.
  • Salve - Artichoke oil is used with melted beeswax and other essential oils to make a salve that is both edible and topical.
  • Syrup - Fresh artichoke leaves are boiled in the sugar solution then strained, to be stored in the refrigerator for daily use.
  • Infused oil - Artichoke leaves can be left in olive oil that can be used for a year if refrigerated properly.