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The Delicious Artichoke Is Also A Medicinal Herb!

 
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The Delicious Artichoke Is Also A Medicinal Herb!
https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/04/the-delicious-artichoke-is-also.html




The Delicious Artichoke Is Also A Medicinal Herb!

Occasionally, by happy coincidence, a very useful medicinal herb turns out to also be among my favorite foods.  Such is certainly the case with the Artichoke.  I LOVE Artichokes!  My favorite preparation is to simply steam the globes with some white wine and salt, then pull the fleshy leaves and dip them in butter.  The Artichoke hearts are excellent eaten the same way, pickled, chopped into sauces or served with crawfish tails, olive oil, garlic and pasta. Artichokes are particularly good deep fried or stuffed - I’ll include one of those traditional recipes at the end of the article (the frying is too simple to need explanation).  I doubt there is any bad way to eat an Artichoke, except by eating the “choke” itself, the thistle flower within the globe.  Medicinally though, the Artichoke should not be overlooked.  


Plants For a Future states:


The globe artichoke has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder function, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. The leaves are anticholesterolemic, antirheumatic, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and lithontripic. They are used internally in the treatment of chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and the early stages of late-onset diabetes. The leaves are best harvested just before the plant flowers, and can be used fresh or dried


The cultivation of Globe Artichoke is ancient.  Wikipedia has the following interesting info:


The artichoke is a domesticated variety of the wild cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)  which is native to the Mediterranean area. There was debate over whether the artichoke was a food among the ancient Greeks and Romans, or whether that cultivar was developed later, with Classical sources referring instead to the wild cardoon. The cardoon is mentioned as a garden plant in the 8th century BCE by Homer and Hesiod. Pliny the Elder mentioned growing of 'carduus' in Carthage and Cordoba. In North Africa, where it is still found in the wild state, the seeds of artichokes, probably cultivated, were found during the excavation of Roman-period Mons Claudianus in Egypt.Varieties of artichokes were cultivated in Sicily beginning in the classical period of the ancient Greeks; the Greeks calling them kaktos. In that period, the Greeks ate the leaves and flower heads, which cultivation had already improved from the wild form. The Romans called the vegetable carduus (hence the name cardoon). Further improvement in the cultivated form appears to have taken place in the medieval period in Muslim Spain and the Maghreb, although the evidence is inferential only.By  the twelfth century, it was being mentioned in the compendious guide to farming composed by Ibn al-'Awwam in Seville (though it does not appear in earlier major Andalusian Arabic works on agriculture), and in Germany by Hildegard von Bingen.


Dioscorides called Artichoke, Scolymus:


Scolymus hispanicus has leaves like chamaeleon, and the thorn is called white but is darker and thicker. It puts out a long stalk full of leaves on which is a prickly head. The root lies underneath — black, thick, its strength good for those with a bad smell in the armpits and the rest of the body [body odour] applied or boiled in wine; and taken as a drink as it draws out much stinking urine. The new growth of the herb boiled like asparagus is eaten instead of a vegetable. It is also called ferula, or pyracantha, the Romans call it strobylus, and the Egyptians, chnus.


Mrs. Grieves tells us:


It is one of the world's oldest cultivated vegetables, grown by the Greeks and the Romans in the heyday of their power. It was introduced into this country in the early sixteenth century both as a vegetable and an ornamental plant in monastery gardens.


Tournefort (1730) says:

'The Artichoke is well known at the table. What we call the bottom is the thalamus on which the embryos of the seeds are placed. The leaves are the scales of the empalement. The Choak is the florets, with a chaffy substance intermixt (the pappus). The French and Germans boil the heads as we do, but the Italians generally eat them raw with salt, oil and pepper.'


However, the Artichoke was not merely viewed as a vegetable by the British herbalists.  


Gerard found interesting uses for Artichoke, such as being an aphrodisiac and agreed with Dioscorides that it is a natural deodorant, centuries before Edward Bernays coined the term, “B.O,”:


A. The nails, that is, the white and thick parts which are in the bottom of the outward scales or flakes of the fruit of the Artichoke, and also the middle pulp whereon the downy seed stands, are eaten both raw with pepper and salt, and commonly boiled with the broth of fat flesh, with pepper added, and are accounted a dainty dish, being pleasant to the taste, and good to procure bodily lust: so likewise the middle ribs of the leaves being made white and tender by good cherishing and looking to, are brought to the table as a great service together with other junkets: they are eaten with pepper and salt as be the raw Artichokes: yet both of them are of ill juice; for the Artichoke containeth plenty of choleric juice, and hath an hard substance, insomuch as of this is engendered melancholy juice, and of that a thin and choleric blood, as Galen teacheth in his book Of the Faculties of Nourishments. But it is best to eat the Artichoke boiled: the ribs of the leaves are altogether of an hard substance: they yield to the body a raw and melancholy juice, and contain in them great store of wind.


           B. It stayeth the involuntary course of the natural seed either in man or woman.


           C. Some write, that if the buds of young Artichokes be first steeped in wine, and eaten, they provoke urine, and stir up the lust of the body.


           D. I find moreover, that the root is good against the rank smell of the armholes, if when the pith is taken away the same root be boiled in wine and drunk: for it sendeth forth plenty of stinking urine, whereby the rank and rammish savour of the whole body is much amended.




Culpepper wrote of Artichokes:


They are under the dominion of Venus, and therefore it is no marvel if they provoke lust, as indeed they do, being somewhat windy meat; and yet they stay the involuntary course of natural seed in man, which is commonly called nocturnal pollutions. And here I care not greatly if I quote a little of Galen's nonsense in his treatise of the faculties of nourishment. He saith, they contain plenty of choleric juice, (which notwithstanding I can scarcely believe,) of which he saith is engendered melancholy juice, and of that melancholy juice thin choleric blood. But, to proceed; this is certain, that the decoction of the root boiled in wine, or the root bruised and distilled in wine in an alembic, and being drank, purges by urine exceedingly.



Here is a good recipe for Roman style stuffed Artichokes I found on the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts website (How To Make Stuffed Artichokes - Escoffier Online)


Stuffed Artichoke

2 Medium fresh artichokes

1 Cup Italian style breadcrumbs

1-2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tbsp parsley

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 Tbsp cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for (drizzling)


Rinse artichokes well, tugging leaves outward to loosen slightly for stuffing.

Trim off stems so artichokes sit on a flat surface.

Trim off the pointed tips of each leaf.

In a large bowl combine bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic salt, and pepper.

Mix well; slowly add the oil till the crumb mixture is moistened enough to stick together. You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of bread crumbs used.

Stuff each leaf of the artichoke, starting from the bottom and working your way around, with crumb mixture.

Place artichokes in a large baking pan and fill bottom of pan with 1/2 to 1 inch of water.

Drizzle olive oil over top of stuffed artichokes and cover tightly with heavy duty foil.

Cook on 360 degrees for approximately 60-80 minutes (depending on size of artichoke) or until leave comes out easily.


As evidenced above, good food need not be complicated.  Moreover, all medicine need not taste bad.  ENJOY!


https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/
 
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Thank you for this informative article. I’m an artichoke lover myself, and now I have a whole new appreciation for this beautiful vegetable.
 
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If anyone knows how to get artichokes or cardoons that can survive zone 5 winters I'm all ears!!!  This year I started something like 32 varieties and got them outside early so they'd experience a lot of cold nights hoping that it will cause them all to flower, cross pollinate and set seeds.  Then they can all stay out to see if any happen to be able to survive and next spring I'll play the same trick with all their seeds to really get the gene pool mixed up.  Hopefully there will be survivors one of these years so that I can make a nice hardy landrace to share.  But if there are already hardy plants out there I'd really like to include them (I know there are....but so far haven't had any luck getting my fingers on them so figured I'd start the selection process myself as a fun mixed up landrace).

I'm doing the same thing this year with beets and chards.  Interestingly they were also originally used as a medicinal.  For the beet/chard work I do have some zone 4 hardy genes as well as some perennial genes in the mix....I'm selecting first to combine those two traits.  Looking for colorful perennial chards.
 
Judson Carroll
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Robin Swindle wrote:Thank you for this informative article. I’m an artichoke lover myself, and now I have a whole new appreciation for this beautiful vegetable.



My pleasure - glad you enjoyed it!
 
Judson Carroll
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Greg Martin wrote:If anyone knows how to get artichokes or cardoons that can survive zone 5 winters I'm all ears!!!  This year I started something like 32 varieties and got them outside early so they'd experience a lot of cold nights hoping that it will cause them all to flower, cross pollinate and set seeds.  Then they can all stay out to see if any happen to be able to survive and next spring I'll play the same trick with all their seeds to really get the gene pool mixed up.  Hopefully there will be survivors one of these years so that I can make a nice hardy landrace to share.  But if there are already hardy plants out there I'd really like to include them (I know there are....but so far haven't had any luck getting my fingers on them so figured I'd start the selection process myself as a fun mixed up landrace).

I'm doing the same thing this year with beets and chards.  Interestingly they were also originally used as a medicinal.  For the beet/chard work I do have some zone 4 hardy genes as well as some perennial genes in the mix....I'm selecting first to combine those two traits.  Looking for colorful perennial chards.



I'm afraid I don't.  I plant mine by a south facing block wall, that is protected by the wind here in zone 5b.  They definitely prefer warmer temps.  If you ever develop a more cold hardy strain, I'd love to buy some seeds!
 
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