*Artichoke in Bloom*

I've been lucky enough, twice this week so far...
Growers have brought these artichoke in bloom to the Anaheim (Thursday) market, and the Newport (Sunday) market as well.

The whole globe artichoke we are familiar with is considered the flower of the plant.  The individual florets are purple, and is what you see in the photograph.

So, after much reading, this is what I've learned.....
 The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions known as the "heart"; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the "choke". These are inedible in older larger flowers.  
This diuretic vegetable is of nutritional value because of its exhibiting aid to digestion, strengthening of the liver function, and to gall bladder function.
 Cynarin, an active chemical constituent in Cynara, causes an increased bile flow. (pardon!)  The majority of the cynarin found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, and in the dried leaves and stems of artichoke.
And, for all of us that like to eat artichoke with butter, 
it can help to raise of HDL/LDL ratio. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease.  Cheers to that!

 I pulled the following recipe ideas for using artichokes as medicine.....
Let me know if you give it a try.  I know I will! 
The artichoke tea: The infusion is made from one spoon of mashed leaves scalded in 500 ml of water. The tea should be left for 15-20 minutes in order to become an infusion. The former mug of tea should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. The latter mug is to be drunk in 2 stages, namely one half of mug before breakfast and then before dinner. The treatment is to be made in 21-30 days cures with 30 day breaks. 
The Artichoke tincture: It is made from 20 grams of mashed artichoke leaves macerated in 100 ml of 70 degree alcohol for 15 days. 5-15 drops should be taken 3 times a day. The tincture shall be diluted with water or with tea whenever taken..."

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