Artichoke decoction

Artichoke decoction

- artichoke decoction">Artichoke decoction

The artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) grows in Mediterranean countries and is grown in temperate regions around the world. It has been known in its wild form since ancient times by the Greeks and Romans. From historical records, it seems that starting from the 1st century the domestication of the artichoke (Cynara scolymus) by its wild progenitor (Cynara cardunculus) took place in Sicily. The plant is part of the Composite family, it can reach up to 1.5 meters in height. The stem is robust, cylindrical and fleshy, longitudinally striated. The leaves are large, often thorny, very segmented and gray-green on the top and blue-green on the bottom. The inflorescences are instead blue-violet, surrounded by bracts (modified leaves), at the base of which is the edible part. The parts that are used are the leaves of the plant, the stem, the inflorescences (artichokes) and the root. The artichoke prefers a mild and dry climate. It can also adapt to relatively cold climates but is sensitive to frost and sudden changes in temperature so that in these areas young plants need protection.


Active ingredients of the artichoke

The active principles of the artichoke are concentrated above all in the leaves, they are the canary (bitter principle) and some flavonoids derived from lutein. The plant is also rich in enzymes, inulin (carbon hydrate tolerated very well by diabetics), potassium and manganese. Although the actual artichoke, that is the inflorescence, has some beneficial effects, the phytotherapeutic and medicinal use mainly involves the use of the leaves, stem and / or roots of the plant. The artichoke produces choleretic effects (increases the secretion of bile) and hepatoprotectors (antitoxic), it is recommended in case of dyspepsia or biliary colic and hepatic insufficiency and is very suitable in case of hepatitis. It is lipid-lowering as it reduces the concentration of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood and is therefore highly recommended in the case of arteriosclerosis. It has hypoglycemic properties, which is why artichoke is a food suitable for diabetics, as it promotes a decrease in the level of sugar in the blood. It is diuretic and purifying because by stimulating diuresis, it is very useful in cases of albuminuria and kidney failure. The artichoke has a low calorie content (100 grams contain just 22 calories), which makes it a food suitable for slimming diets. It is a vegetable rich in fiber and mineral salts such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, manganese and folic acid. There are also vitamins of group B, C, K.


Preparation of the artichoke

The artichoke is used in the kitchen for the preparation of delicious dishes but in this space we leave out the culinary aspect to show the healing image of the plant. The artichoke in phytotherapy is used both for external use and for internal use. For each medicinal plant there are some optimal methods of preparation and use. It is useful to know them and know how to apply them properly in order to make the most of the properties of each plant or its individual parts. The method of preparation of the artichoke is the decoction. The decoction of artichoke it is used in particular to detoxify the liver and lower the cholesterol level. Decoction is used to prepare herbal teas with the hard parts of plants such as roots, rhizomes, bark and seeds that require prolonged boiling to release the active ingredients, some of which, precisely due to the prolonged action of heat, can lose part of the their property. Typically the decoction of artichoke is characterized by the use of leaves, which can be found dried in herbalists. Preparing a decoction is not difficult. To carry out the decoction, it is necessary to place them in a suitable container artichoke leaves selected, adding the appropriate amount of water. It is necessary to boil everything for 3 to 20 minutes over low heat, then it is necessary to let it rest for a few minutes and then filter with a colander. Thanks to boiling, the decoctions, especially if kept in the refrigerator and at a constant temperature, will keep longer than the infusions. They can thus be used for several days, even if it is not advisable to exceed the term of one week.


Benefits of the artichoke

For the treatment of gout or to combat arthritis, the decoction of artichoke roots is indicated. It involves boiling twenty grams of artichoke root in 10 ml of water. The administration of the "drink" should not be longer than three weeks to avoid annoying side effects such as tingling and dizziness. If you want to detoxify the body by freeing it from toxins and excess fluids, it is necessary to boil 20 grams of artichoke leaves in 500 ml of water for 5/10 minutes and then filter. To have an effect, the decoction must be drunk several times throughout the day, in small quantities. The artichoke decoction is also applied for external use. It is indicated for restoring a natural color to the skin or for eliminating unsightly boils that affect liver subjects in particular. The artichoke is also beneficial against cholesterol. It fights the HDL molecules (negative cholesterol that clogs the arteries), while increasing the levels of the positive LDL cholesterol which has the task of clearing the arteries from plaques. It is recommended to drink a cup of the decoction thirty minutes before starting a meal. To make the decoction more pleasant and soften the bitter taste, you can add a hint of honey, but without exaggerating. As previously mentioned, the artichoke is rich in fiber, which is why, in addition to supporting the body, it is a panacea for the gastrointestinal tract by reducing constipation, diarrhea and heartburn. An artichoke-based decoction performs a purifying action on the liver, regulates bile, stimulates diuresis and lowers the level of triglycerides in the blood. After a hearty meal to facilitate digestion and remove that sense of heaviness that you feel when you leave the table, a cup of artichoke decoction helps the digestive system. The treatment based on artichoke decoction can be followed for a month and then resumed after a short interval, or in a more concentrated quantity it can be consumed in a few days in small sips, after meals. The decoction should not be ingested in large quantities, but sipped during the day so that it can act more effectively on the entire body.

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