Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
Globe artichokes have been used medicinally for centuries. Native to the Mediterranean area, artichokes have been cultivated and used in Greece for thousands of years. Related to the thistle, artichokes need good soil and regular water and fertilizer to grow well. The artichoke also provides a nutritious vegetable that is very versatile.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Globe artichoke is often recommended for gallstones, liver disease or damage and poor liver function. It is also taken for digestive problems like loss of appetite, indigestion, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, constipation and flatulence. Artichoke stimulates the flow of bile between the liver and gall bladder to aid organ function.
Artichoke helps this happen by increasing the number and size of the bile vesicles inside the liver cells so the bile flow can increase. Because of this quality, the herb can be helpful in draining the liver, pancreas and gall bladder. This is of great value when treating irritable bowel syndrome.
Historically, globe artichoke has been used to cure jaundice, hepatitis, swelling from fluid retention and urinary stones. It was also used as a deodorant and to relieve rheumatism. Artichoke has compounds that help lower high blood cholesterol. It is a diuretic, and so promotes the flow of urine and helps rid the body of toxins. It is useful for ridding the body of excess water weight. Artichoke also has hypoglycemic properties that may lower blood sugar levels.
Other Uses Globe artichoke buds are harvested before blossoming and cooked as a vegetable. In some countries, artichokes are considered aphrodisiacs.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Artichoke may be combined with dandelion and St. Mary's thistle for liver detoxification purposes.
Leaves The leaf is harvested and dried from the artichoke plant.
If you are allergic to artichokes, have obstructed bile ducts or have gallstones, do not use this herb. There are no known side effects or restrictions to using this herb. There are no known drug interactions for this herb. Artichoke leaf may cause contact dermatitis if it comes in contact with the skin.
Preparation and Dosage
Unless you are directed otherwise by a qualified herbalist, the general dosages for globe artichoke are as follows: up to 6 grams per day of cut, dried leaves, the pressed juice from fresh plant material, 0.5 grams of dry extract per day, 2 ml of fluid extract taken three times per day or 6 ml of tincture, taken three times per day.