Tourists visiting Da Lat on holidays tend to bring back artichokes as gifts for their acquaintances. However, few people make the best of its efficiency. In particular, artichokes are beneficial for liver functions.
The scientific name for artichoke is Cynara scolymus and it belongs to the Asteraceae family. Active ingredients in artichokes come from the different parts of the plant:
- Artichoke leaves have the most active ingredients – 10 times higher than petioles. The level in young leaves is double that of older ones. Artichoke leaves, which have a bitter taste, have diuretic effects and are often used in edematous as well as rheumatic treatments. Fresh or dried leaves that are cooked into a soft jelly can be used to treat liver diseases, such as hepatitis, yellow skin, acute nephritis syndrome and chronic kidney disease, and arthritis. This cure has a mild laxative effect and a mild blood purification effect on children.
- Roots are used to make drinks that help diuresis but do not increase acids in the gallbladder.
- Artichoke flowers have a slightly bitter taste due to their tannic acid. They are good for the health and provide about 9.3 per cent carbohydrate, 1.5 per cent fiber, and they are very low in fat and protein. The flowers supply a low level of energy, only about 40 to 50 kcals, yet they are rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, sulphor and magnesium. Inflorescences are used in diabetics’ diet because they contain only small amounts of starch, carbohydrates that are mostly ins
Flowers also help eliminate toxins for people who drink too much alcohol. It is recommended that only flower buds be eaten as a vegetable. When the flowers blossom, the level of active ingredients decreases, so people often collect them in advance.
Folk medicine recipes
- Take 40 gm of artichoke stem, 40 gm of the root, and 20 gm of flower and dry then grind carefully. Use 2 gm to make tea.
- Take 50 gm of dried artichoke flower and grind. Use 2 gm to make tea.
- Boil 100 gm of artichoke flower and 100 gm of the leaf and eat as a vegetable.
Increases acids in the gallbladder and cures sluggish digestive system: Artichokes are often used to treat flatulence, abdominal distension, dyspepsia and constipation. A weak, poorly functioning liver will not be able to digest the amount of food that a body needs which causes stomach pain, bloating, and indigestion. Artichokes stimulate the liver and improve the digestive system.
Reducing blood cholesterol: The liver has two functions, to produce endogenous cholesterol and to produce most of the cholesterol that follows bile into the intestine. Artichokes inhibit endogenous cholesterol and increase cholesterol excretion by the bile so it significantly reduces blood cholesterol. Artichokes also prevent the formation of new cholesterol in the liver.
Anti-oxidation and liver detoxification: The increased secretion of bile is one of the detoxification mechanisms, supporting the detoxification of the liver.
Anti-arterosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis is the underlying cause of coronary artery insufficiency, angina, myocardial infarction and cerebral vascular accident. Artichoke prevents an increased risk of arteriosclerosis.
Reducing blood sugar levels: Many studies show that artichokes contain substances that prevent the production of too much glucose (sugar) in the liver.
Urinary catheterization, urea excretion: The leaves and roots of artichoke help eliminate urea in blood. This helps to prevent gout, kidney and gallbladder stones. People suffering from these ailments should use artichoke daily to help flush out the urinary system.
Notes when using artichokes:
Mothers who are breast-feeding should not use artichokes as it will interfere with milk production.
People with stomach, kidney and liver problems should not eat artichoke flowers.
According to Oriental medicine, the spleen and stomach only like sweet tastes. Artichokes taste bitter, so overusing, drinking this tea too regularly or in large quantities could hurt the spleen, stomach, and affect the digestion. Most of the time, consuming too much of one thing can lead to negative impacts.
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