Artichoke

Artichoke (lat. Cynara) is a perennial herbaceous plant closely related to prickly thistles and garden asters. The homeland of vegetable crops are the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean region. At the same time, it is widely cultivated in South America, Africa, California, Central Europe, Greece, Italy, Australia. Leaves or unopened flower baskets are eaten, which taste like walnuts.

Today, there are 140 varieties of plants, among which the following species have the highest nutritional value for the human body: artichoke seed (thorny) and Spanish (Cardon), of the Asteraceae family.

Useful properties of culture are due to the rich chemical composition. The artichoke contains a balanced set of nutrients: rare organic acids (glycolic, glyceric, quinic, caffeic), iron and calcium salts, up to 15% carbohydrates, vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, PP, phenolic compound cynarin, inulin.

The plant is used as a hepatoprotective, choleretic agent. In addition, it lowers blood sugar levels, normalizes metabolic processes, removes salts of heavy metals, urea from the body. It is a dietary medicinal product. It is used for biliary dyskinesia, chronic renal failure, chronic hepatitis, cholecystitis, urolithiasis. As a phytopreparation, it can be used by children, the elderly.

Consider the benefits and harms of artichoke for health, use in folk, traditional medicine, cooking, mesotherapy.

Description

Artichoke (flower vegetable) is a perennial plant with green or grayish-green large lobed leaves, with spear-shaped wide-toothed segments with short spikes pubescent below collected in a root rosette. The stem of a herbaceous individual is straight, reaches 50 - 180 centimeters in height. The root is a long taproot, wintering. Artichoke inflorescences are ten-centimeter diameter baskets covered with scaly wrappers. Seeds obovate, thick. On massive receptacles are tubular flowers (blue, purple, white). Fruits are large quadrangular, with a cut top or flattened, bare achenes with a tuft.

In appearance, the artichoke resembles a rounded immature coneranging in size from a large orange to a small nut.

How does it grow?

For successful cultivation of a crop, the site under the plant is protected from the winds, it must be well lit, with fertile soil, rich in organic matter. Artichoke loves abundant watering and warmth, when the ambient temperature drops to minus 1 degree Celsius, the flowers are damaged and die. It propagates in two ways: by root layers (planted at a distance of 100 centimeters from each other), by seeds.

For abundant fruiting and intensive vegetation, the plant is fed by spraying the leaves with a mixture of wood ash (10 grams), superphosphate (25 grams), potassium chloride (10 grams). As a rule, the artichoke bush "give birth" in the second year.

Bud ripening is uneven. The first flower stalks appear at the end of summer, and after 14 days they can already be cut. Artichoke fruits are harvested after the upper scales of the cone begin to move apart and slightly bend back. The appearance of bluish petals at the top of the bud indicates that the culture is overripe and unsuitable for consumption.

The artichoke must be cut with a stem that is 5 centimeters long. The shelf life of such fruits depends on the temperature of the environment and ranges from 2 weeks to 3 months.

For medicinal purposes, leaves, inflorescences, fleshy receptacles of artichoke heads are harvested and dried during flowering. Young (small or medium-sized) fruits can be eaten whole raw, canned or pickled, and large fruits can be consumed only boiled, removing hard hairs and leaf tips.

Chemical composition

Fresh artichokes are a storehouse of nutrients for the human body. The calorie content of a raw flower vegetable is only 28 kcal per 100 grams of product, while a boiled one increases to 53 kcal. Therefore, the raw fruits of the plant are widely used in the diet menu for weight loss.

What does an artichoke taste like?

The plant has a pronounced taste of Jerusalem artichoke, wood, mature walnut.

Table No. 1 “Chemical composition of the artichoke”
Nutrient name The amount of nutrients in 100 grams of inflorescence, milligram
Vitamins
Ascorbic acid ( С ) 5
Vitamin PP 0.6
Pyridoxine ( B6 ) 0.2
Riboflavin ( B2 ) 0.05
Thiamine ( B1 ) 0.04
Beta-carotene 0.02
Vitamin A (RE) 0.02
Folic acid ( B9 ) 0.0185
Macronutrients
Potassium 238
Chlorine 47
Phosphorus 34
Sodium 20
Sulfur 15
Calcium 15
Magnesium 9
Microelements
Aluminum 0.815
Iron 0.4
Zinc 0.29
Manganese 0.21
Copper 0.135
Boron 0.1
Fluorine 0.014
Molybdenum 0.01
Iodine 0.002
Cobalt 0.001
​​
Table No. 2 "Nutritional value of artichoke"
Name Content in 100 grams of product, grams
Water 90
Carbohydrates 6
Mono- and disaccharides 5
Proteins 1.2
Ash 1
Dietary fiber 0.5
Starch 0.5
Fats 0.1
Organic acids 0, 1

Essential oils are concentrated in the outer leaves of the wrapper, which give the artichoke a characteristic taste of unripe walnut, and in the inflorescences - a polysaccharide inulin, which strengthens the immune system, stimulates the growth of bone tissue, removes heavy metals and radionuclides from the body. It is a highly digestible dietary vegetable. Products of its processing are recommendeduse in diabetes as a substitute for starch.

The main advantages of the artichoke are the absence of cholesterol, an abundance of healthy unsaturated fats, a high content of ascorbic, nicotinic acid, fiber, potassium, manganese, phosphorus.

Benefits and harms

Artichoke is an ancient culture, the medicinal properties of which have been known to mankind for more than 5 thousand years. It exhibits choleretic, diuretic, antirheumatic actions. The healing power of the plant was first used by healers from Egypt and Greece. Fresh fruits were used to eliminate rheumatism, diseases of the liver, heart, scurvy, and relieve edema. Later they were treated with gout, poor appetite, jaundice. In modern folk medicine, the artichoke is used to eliminate eczema, psoriasis, atherosclerosis, urticaria, constipation, cholelithiasis, dropsy. The extract from the plant is used to cleanse the body of toxic substances.

Decoctions of leaves and petioles activate the work of the central nervous system, reduce cholesterol in the blood, uric acid in the joints. Artichoke juice with honey rinse the mouth with cracks in the tongue, stomatitis, thrush.

Healing properties of the plant:

  1. Protects the liver from the harmful effects of toxins, improves the regeneration of organ cells.
  2. Strengthens the immune system.
  3. Eliminates the manifestation of toxicosis in pregnant women.
  4. Improves bile secretion, reduces the risk of developing cholecystitis.
  5. Prevents premature aging, neutralizes the destructive effect of free radicals on the body, prolongs youth.
  6. Removes toxins, heavy metals, alkaloids, hepatotoxic substances.
  7. Reduces cellulite, smoothes wrinkles, accelerates hair growth.
  8. Purifies and stimulates the kidneys.
  9. Improves metabolism, cerebral circulation, relieves discomfort after overeating.
  10. Reduces the risk of developing diseases of the heart, blood vessels, liver, malignant neoplasms.
  11. Alkalizes the body, reducing excess acid in the stomach.
  12. Removes strong sweat odor.
  13. Fights hair loss, allergies, hepatitis, inflammation of the gallbladder, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, intoxication.
  14. Reduces sugar in the blood.

Artichoke juice is of particular value for men: it supports sexual strength, strengthens erection, increases sexual activity. In addition, it is an indispensable remedy for a hangover. The inflorescences of the plant break down and neutralize alcohol well, have a strong diuretic effect. Coreand scales of the fruits of the plant, containing a large amount of flavonoids, are effective in the prevention of oncology.

Due to internal changes in the body (normalization of the nervous, digestive, cardiovascular, endocrine systems), the functional state of hair, skin, nails improves significantly.

Despite the beneficial properties, there are contraindications to the use of artichoke:

  • stomach ulcer, gastritis with low acidity of gastric juice;
  • idiosyncrasy (plant allergy);
  • low blood pressure;
  • cholelithiasis;
  • breastfeeding period;
  • kidney disease.

Can children eat artichoke?

Babies under 6 years of age are not allowed to include inflorescence "vegetable" in their diet. After 6 years, the product can be gradually introduced into the child's menu under the strict supervision of adults. At the same time, watch the reaction of the child's body to the new ingredient.

Possible side effects from taking the herb are allergic reactions, diarrhea, constipation, bitter taste in the mouth.

Due to its medicinal properties, the artichoke is used in cosmetology (mesotherapy), medicine, and cooking.

Artichoke during pregnancy

According to doctors, the use of artichoke has a beneficial effect on the body of a pregnant woman:

  • strengthens the body of the mother, fetus;
  • reduces the load on the liver, gallbladder (due to the manifestation of a mild diuretic effect);
  • compensates for the lack of folic acid in the diet;
  • removes toxins;
  • relieves the manifestations of toxicosis;
  • eliminates swelling.

Remember, during the period of bearing a child, the liver, gallbladder, gastrointestinal tract take the greatest blow: due to the increase in the concentration of female hormones in the blood, bile formation increases, so any the problem with digestion can worsen, complicate the course of pregnancy.

How to get rid of toxicosis?

  1. Walk more outdoors (at least 2 hours a day).
  2. Drink hepatoprotectors to cleanse the liver, which include herbal ingredients (Hofitol, Cynarix, Rostoropsha +, Artichoke Extract). To support the gallbladder, take a decoction of the leaves or fresh artichoke juice, which prevents blockages in the bile ducts.

Remember, only young vegetables can be eaten raw to avoid indigestion. Fruits of large sizes should be subjected to heat treatment. Besides,field artichoke is forbidden to be eaten by pregnant women who suffer from low blood pressure, gastritis. In this case, the plant will not bring the desired effect and, instead of eliminating toxicosis, it will worsen the well-being of the expectant mother.

  1. Get enough sleep, do not rush to get out of bed immediately after waking up.
  2. Eat fractionally. Snack every 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Eat fermented milk products and fruits for breakfast. Do not eat hot meals (only warm), spicy and fatty foods that provoke nausea. Avoid soups.
  4. Drink more (from 3 liters per day).
  5. Keep the room fresh.
  6. Do not make sudden movements.
  7. Avoid unpleasant odors.
  8. Rest.

Pregnancy is a happy period in the life of every woman, when the expectant mother is looking forward to the birth of her baby. However, the joy of the upcoming meeting can reduce toxicosis, accompanied by vomiting, nausea. This is a common condition among pregnant women, resulting from the poisoning of a woman's body with harmful substances and toxins formed during the development of the fetus.

To eliminate unpleasant symptoms during pregnancy, it is recommended to adhere to proper nutrition, daily routine, take artichoke-based preparations that improve the functioning of the digestive system and urinary system.

Application in folk medicine

Artichoke has hepatoprotective, choleretic, diuretic effects. It is used in folk medicine to treat jaundice, reduce joint pain, reduce bad cholesterol, and improve metabolism.

Instructions for use:

  1. Fresh artichoke juice to increase sexual strength, libido, cleanse the body of alkaloids, eliminate dropsy, problems with urination. Method of preparation: pass the plant through a meat grinder, strain the mixture. Discard the artichoke pulp, and drink the juice twice a day, 50 milliliters 30 minutes before meals. In addition, it can be used externally: rubbed into bald spots (to stop baldness) and applied to areas with increased sweating (to level the smell of sweat).
  2. Infusion to reduce uric acid in the joints, bad cholesterol in the blood, improve the functioning of the central nervous system. Leaves, artichoke stalks (30 grams), pour a liter of boiling water, close the jar with a lid, wait 1 hour. After the mixture is infused, strain the infusion, take twice a day (morning and evening) 400 grams between meals.
  3. Tea for inflammation of the digestive system. Effectively used to soothe the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, which are irritated by hydrochloric acid (especially if it is produced in an increased amount). To stop the inflammatory process, you need to brew tea (preferably regular green) and add dry ground artichoke (1.25 grams) to it. Take three times a day symptomatically.
  4. Decoction to relieve and eliminate constipation. Boil artichoke baskets (30 grams) in a liter of clean water for 10 minutes, strain, cool. Add the yolk of one raw egg to the herbal solution, mix. Divide the decoction into 3 equal parts, take in the morning, afternoon and evening.
  5. Rinsing with cracks in the mouth, stomatitis, seizures. Grind the artichoke florets, squeeze out the juice, add honey. Rinse your mouth regularly with the resulting drink (5 times a day).
  6. Decoction for psoriasis, urticaria, eczema. Pour 30 grams of ground artichoke leaves with a liter of water, boil for 15 minutes, filter, cool. Take a sterile bandage, soak it in the resulting boil, apply as a compress to the affected area of ​​the skin.

Remember, the artichoke is a medicinal herb, before using which you should definitely consult a doctor about the safety of use. Like any drug, it can cause allergies and make you feel worse. Do not self-medicate as it is not always safe!

Formulations of the drug

Artichoke-based drugs have a similar mode of action, the same indications for use, identical rules of administration. These are strong choleretic drugs that are contraindicated in people with biliary tract disorders, cholecystitis, low blood pressure, and acute liver failure.

Artichoke formulations:

  1. Injectable solutions. They are used in mesotherapy to improve the condition of the skin: reduce edema, split adipose tissue, stimulate lymph flow, regenerate the dermis, enrich it with nutrients.
  2. Tablets (Artichoke-Astrapharm, Hofitol, Cynarix). They normalize liver function, reduce the manifestations of heartburn, nausea, flatulence, stimulate the outflow, secretion of bile, improve the digestion of carbohydrates, fatty foods. Take 3 times a day before meals.

Tablets for the liver exhibit hepatoprotective, diuretic, detoxification, choleretic, hypolipidemic effects. Indications for use in chronic hepatitis, intoxication, insufficient kidney function, dispersion, bile outflow disorders, atherosclerosis, uraturia, obesity, urolithiasis. In addition, artichoke tablets help restore liver tissue, whichdamaged by alcoholism.

  1. Capsules ("Cholesinol"). It is a natural phytopreparation hybrid with milk thistle, which exhibits antioxidant, membrane-stabilizing, antitoxic, choleretic, hypoazotemic, hypocholesterolemic properties. How to take artichoke capsules? Drink 1 piece half an hour before meals 3 times a day for a month.
  2. Resin. This is an artichoke extract that visually resembles plasticine and has a beneficial effect on the body: it stops bleeding gums, improves liver function, lowers blood sugar, strengthens the nervous system, and improves immunity. Before taking a quarter teaspoon of artichoke in the form of resin (1.25 grams) is dissolved in 200 milliliters of hot water. The resulting solution is taken before each meal.
  3. Liquid extract. Contains antioxidants that prevent cell destruction. It is indicated to maintain the normal functioning of the gallbladder and liver. A solution for oral administration is prescribed for adults, 30 drops three times a day, half an hour before a meal. Before use, dilute the liquid extract in 100 milliliters of chilled boiled water. The course of admission is 4 weeks.

Artichoke extract is used to produce a syrup for children, which is useful in the treatment of constipation. It activates the activity of the intestines, removes salts of heavy metals, toxins, radionuclides, excess fluid from the body. In addition, it is indicated for chronic diseases of the ENT organs (otitis media, sinusitis, frontal sinusitis, tonsillitis, adenoids, pharyngitis), pituitary gland, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, enzymatic insufficiency of the digestive glands. Method of application: for babies from 1 to 3 years old, 2.5 milliliters (0.5 teaspoon), for children from 6 to 12 years old - 10 milliliters (1 dessert spoon), for teenagers under 18 years old - 15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) 3 times a day.

Based on the opinions of doctors, the artichoke is indicated for everyone who:

  • works in hazardous conditions (at work);
  • smokes;
  • has high cholesterol;
  • lives in conditions of poor ecology (polluted environment);
  • consumes alcohol;
  • suffers from reduced immunity;
  • has skin problems.

For the treatment and prevention of diseases of the digestive tract, it is recommended to brew Vietnamese artichoke tea in bags daily. The daily norm is 1 - 2 cups of a healing drink. To improve the taste, honey can be added to the cooled infusion.

The dose and frequency of administration depend on the age, body weight, health status of the patient. To achieve the desired result, while taking medicines based on artichoke, you shouldrefrain from drinking soft drinks, fruit juices and any acidic drinks/foods.

Analogues of choleretic drugs: "Allohol", "Artichol", "Bilikur", "Hepatofit", "Phytogepatol", "Kholagol".

Culinary uses

Artichoke is a versatile herb that can be eaten at all stages of ripening. The flower vegetable is valued for its delicate nutty flavor. This is a real gourmet delicacy.

How do you eat an artichoke?

Young inflorescences are recommended to be consumed fresh, medium-ripe - pickled or canned, and mature - only stewed, boiled, fried, baked. Heat treatment of artichoke helps to soften the product, improves its absorption by the body.

Due to bad taste, refuse to take opened inflorescences in favor of fleshy receptacles, lower rows of involucre, succulent rosettes of basal leaves, flower baskets, stems, roots.

In cooking, the artichoke is added to pasta, bread, pizza, salads, pies, risotto, desserts, jellies, sauces, side dishes for meat and fish. The nutty taste of the plant emphasizes the features of the dish and gives savory notes even to an ordinary omelet. To keep the fresh artichoke longer, the inflorescences are dipped in water acidified with vinegar or lemon juice for 5 minutes.

Large fruits with a fully formed core are subject to heat treatment without fail.

Stewed artichokes

Before cooking a flower-vegetable, divide it into a stem and inflorescences, remove the inner part of the basket (“beard”), remove the thorns. Heat the pan, fry the fruits in butter for 5 minutes. Then add water, simmer for 10 minutes until the product is fully cooked. This is an excellent side dish for meat and fish products.

Fried Artichokes

Pre-boil the florets for half an hour. Cut in half and transfer them to the pan. Add salt, spices, vegetable oil and fry on both sides until golden brown. This dish is recommended to be served with fresh vegetables.

Fresh or pickled artichoke is added to cheese, ham, fish. Canned inflorescences are introduced into salads, pizza toppings. Large fruits are used to create stuffed dishes: the formed core is cut out, and the vacant place is stuffed with minced meat, fish or vegetables.

Artichoke is eaten with spicy sauce. At the same time, it cannot be washed down with wine, since cynarin, which is part of the plant, can change the sensitivity of the tongue receptors.

Use in cosmetology

Artichoke is a plant that has a rejuvenating effect on the bodya person, therefore, it is actively used in mesotherapy as a non-surgical tool for face and figure correction. Its value lies in its rich composition, which includes: inulin, salts, vitamins, cynarine, organic acids, flavonoids that nourish the dermis of a woman. Based on the extract from the inflorescence, toothpaste, rubbing, balms, ointments, lotions, masks are produced.

In the pursuit of beauty, women agree to the subcutaneous injection of preparations containing artichoke for local impact on the problematic part of the body (using microneedles).

This procedure (mesotherapy) allows you to achieve the following results:

  • cellulite reduction (the combination of artichoke and hyaluroidase or alaxatin has a powerful lymphatic drainage and lipolytic effect, activating fat burning in the thighs, abdomen, buttocks);
  • moisturizing the skin;
  • reducing inflammation of the dermis and, as a result, suppressing the progression of acne;
  • prevent baldness, eliminate dandruff, stimulate hair growth;
  • improve facial tone, smooth wrinkles;
  • removal of edema from the tissues (in the area around the eyes).

Conclusion

The artichoke is a healthy edible flower that is famous for being high in fiber, nutrients, and low in calories and fat. The plant exhibits healing properties: it maintains normal metabolic functions, stimulates proper digestion, removes harmful cholesterol, improves the condition of the skin and hair, destroys toxic compounds, fights free radicals, and prevents the appearance of colon and genital cancer.

In order for the body to get the maximum benefit from the artichoke, it must be chosen during its natural ripening period (spring, autumn). The fruits should have juicy scales that fit snugly together. Don't buy shriveled, sluggish buds with hardened brown upper leaves.

The greatest value for the human body is an artichoke with an unformed core. In such a plant, the inflorescences are completely edible and do not require preliminary heat treatment.

Include the artichoke in your daily menu for preventive, therapeutic reasons and take care of your health!