Globe Artichoke | Cynara scolymus Compositae/Asteraceae.
Native to the Mediterranean, the globe artichoke is now cultivated all over western Europe. Although widely enjoyed as a vegetable since the 15th celltury, its medicinal powers tVere not recognised until the 20th century. The herbaceous perennial grows up to 1.5m tall, with a thick, upright, ridged stem. The large, jagged leaves are grey green, with a whitish down on their underside. Thistle-like, purple-green flowers surrounded by thick leaflike bracts appear in summer.
The leaves are rich in organic and phenolic acids, including the bitter, aromatic cynarin. They also contain sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, potassium salts, provitamin A and numerous enzymes.
Globe artichoke preparations are mainly used to treat digestive problems, especially those concerned with the liver and gall bladder.
In 2001 German scientists noted that the flavonoids in the plant's leaves could stimulate bile flow and encourage regeneration of liver cells. Earlier, the same team had also shown that the leaf extract can help to lower blood cholesterol levels. In 2002 Japanese researchers recorded the same effect and identified the sesquiterpene lactones as the active components.The flavonoids, assisted by the acids and potassium salts, also act as diuretics, easing kidney problems.
Sow globe artichoke seeds in early spring in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Protect plants from frost during a harsh winter.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE.
For internal use
TO TREAT liver and kidney problems, high blood cholesterol and indigestion
TINCTURE Put 500g of dried leaves into 1 litre of alcohol and leave for 15 days. Take 1-4 teaspoons in half a glass of water, three times a day.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
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