Artichoke - Origin, Benefits, Virtues
- Where does it come from?
- Nutritional assets
- Benefits and virtues of the artichoke
- Side effects and contraindications
- Let's go further... new scientific discoveries...
- You may be interested:
The artichoke is a domesticated and cultivated thistle, which belongs to the Asteraceae family, as do dandelion, chicory, burdock, camomile or arnica.
Native to the Mediterranean basin, this leafy plant is above all a medicinal plant with many virtues, already used in antiquity by the Greeks and Romans.
Photo Rosalia Ricotta at Pixabay
Let's discover the many assets of this atypical vegetable...
Where does it come from?
Its origins would be from North Africa, Egypt or Ethiopia. Its name, which would have been attributed to the Renaissance, comes from the Arabic "ardhi-chawki" through the Lombard "articiocco".
It was Catherine de Medici who introduced the artichoke to France in 1533, marking the beginning of its great popularity. There are two types of artichokes according to the shape of their flower bud: conical (purple of Provence or Venice, Poivrade, Sara or Macao) or round (great camus of Brittany, great green of Laon, green of Provence or thorny).
Its cultivation is quite delicate as it needs enough space for full growth, good fertilization, abundance of water, softness without heat wave and freshness without frost.
Antioxidants in abundance
The artichoke is a mine of phenolic compounds (narirutin, cynarin...) and anthocyanins with a strong antioxidant power.
The artichoke also contains Symilarine which would have an effect on the prevention of certain cancers and vitamin C, the antioxidant vitamin par excellence.
This indigestible sugar behaves like a prebiotic fiber: since it is not absorbed by the small intestine, it ferments in the colon and feeds the bifidobacteria that are beneficial to health and the immune system.
Excellent quality fibers
Very good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, the artichoke is therefore a perfect food to facilitate intestinal transit and contribute to satiety.
Minerals in numbers
Significant amounts of magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. The artichoke is one of the vegetables with a high mineral density.
Benefits and virtues of the artichoke
Stimulates the liver
It is the cynarin and luteolin it contains that would give the artichoke its choleretic and purifying properties. These two elements stimulate the secretion of bile and facilitate the evacuation of the gallbladder.
However, it is in phytotherapy and herbalism where these purifying properties are most effective, since cynarin and luteolin are essentially present in the stem and hard parts of artichoke leaves, and in lesser quantities in the heart.
The artichoke facilitates renal and urinary elimination thanks to the inulin and potassium it contains. Therefore, it is a perfect detoxification ally after rich and/or watery meals. It is also used to improve water retention problems.
Slimming advantage: regulates traffic and appetite
And it is still the precious inulin that is responsible for these two actions. Since inulin is a sugar that is not digested by the body, it remains in the intestine, attracts water and facilitates transit.
Like all fibers, it helps to quickly achieve a lasting feeling of satiety.
The artichoke is therefore a slimming vegetable par excellence! This is confirmed by a Hungarian study that offers a daily supplement of concentrated artichoke juice to a group of obese people: their sense of hunger decreases and their body mass index drops significantly.
Cardioprotective and hypercholesterolemic
The wild artichoke could increase the production of nitric oxide that favors vasodilation and limits the formation of atheromatous plaques, helping to prevent the appearance of cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, the inulin contained in the artichoke would have the ability to regulate blood lipids (decrease of bad cholesterol and increase of good cholesterol) and to prevent atherosclerosis.
Studies in mice even show a 35% reduction in arterial lesions when supplemented with inulin! Finally, the soluble fibers present in the artichoke form a network around the alimentary bolus and limit the absorption of fats, sugars and cholesterol.
The flavonoids and apigenin contained in the artichoke would be able to destroy - in the laboratory - the cancerous cells of the human pancreas.
These are the results of a study conducted by Elvira de Meija, professor of food chemistry and toxicology at the University of Illinois, which states that "apigenin alone causes cell death in two aggressive cultures of human pancreatic cancer cells.
- In phytotherapy, food supplements of artichoke concentrate or standardized extracts can be consumed at the rate of 800 mg to 2g per day, or 20 to 30 drops of mother tincture three times a day.
- In infusion, one teaspoon of dry leaves per cup to leave them in infusion for 3 minutes, at a rate of two or three cups per day.
Side effects and contraindications
If the artichoke is not only a harmless vegetable but also excellent for health, its consumption in the form of food supplements can be, in some particular cases, avoided.
Because of its choleretic action, people prone to gallstones, gallstones or blocked bile ducts should consume it in moderation and avoid cures.
Pregnant women and young children should avoid daily supplements. Similarly, in case of hyperkalemia, it is preferable to consume the artichoke in moderation.
Finally, it is likely that the inulin it contains, in high doses, causes digestive disorders or diarrhea in people with fragile intestines.
Let's go further... new scientific discoveries...
Studies conducted in 2015 revealed the hypoglycemic action of artichoke leaf extract.
The soluble fibers it contains are those that, on the one hand, would stimulate the enzymes involved in the regulation of glycemia and, on the other hand, would have a mechanical action that would limit the absorption of fast sugars during digestion.
An additional health benefit of this vegetable that definitely has more than one trick up its sleeve!
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