Okay, so who likes (or loves!) Artichokes, but NEVER thought of them as something of an herbal thing??

Well, it is. It is grey green, like a lot of herbs, it has lots of soft leaves, and the tastiest, softest “heart” (as it is referred to!) at its center.

We do need to learn how to prepare an artichoke, of course:

We need to remove the external thorns and flowers, and the tougher periphery of leaves, until we get to the softer ones close to the heart.

 

So an Artichoke has tons of great nutritional properties! Actually, Artichoke is a variety of the Thistle plant!  Native to the Mediterranean, especially Greece and the rest of the Middle East, they play a great part in our food choices!

In fact, they are very high in antioxidants –which protect us from damaging chemicals around and inside us.

 

First time I knew of Artichokes goes way way back, when I was growing up in Athens (Greece), and my father was going through some hard times (he had quite a few of them!) with his liver and his gallbladder.  Sooo… my mother made special meals for him—most of them boring, EXCEPT when she prepared Artichokes, the Greek way! And we all ate them— AND I loved them! (see recipe below).

 

Among other things,

  • Artichokes –Anginares (Αγγινάρες –Greek=thorns!) are almost unique for healing a suffering Gallbladder, as well as the Liver!
  • Specifically, they contain chemicals such as Polyphenols, which facilitate the Gallbladder function by preventing accumulation of Cholesterol in our arteries (caused by too many “nasty” fats in our diet).
  • Excessive Cholesterol blocks blood flow, increases blood pressure, and this damages our cardiovascular
  • Artichokes, being very high in Antioxidants, such as Rutin and Quercetin, help protect us from free radicals, cell oxidation, and breakdown.
  • Artichokes also contain a large amount of Flavonoids, and those are powerful nutrients that also reduce our chances of getting breast cancer.

 

I always loved Artichokes, but years later, when I started meddling with the “Healing Arts” in general, having myself recovered from cancer, I began recognizing the wonderful qualities of the Artichoke plant in curing us from severe diseases!

 

In addition to the above benefits:

  • Artichokes are very low in the types of fat harmful to us, such as saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • On the other hand, they are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins: from C and all the Bs, to Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, etc.
  • They are also rich in Potassium which helps with reducing chances of high blood pressure and, therefore, heart attacks.

 

All in all, I strongly recommend Artichokes as a wonderful tasty meal, which also has tons of excellent ingredients that protect and improve our daily health!

 

Also, I have never done this, but I am thinking that if we “peeled” an Artichoke and then took the softer leaves, oh maybe about 7-8 of them, and simmered them in a couple of cups of water, the nutrients for sure would end up in the water. It would be just like making a proper Herbal Tea!!!

I will try this and let you all know! If you do it first, let ME know!!!

 

  1. Greek Recipe:
  • Remove all the tough leaves and the hairy stuff on top (you may want to save them for a soup — or for a very healthy  drink, if you like).
  • Boil the artichokes with part of their stems. (Actually, the stem is the part –which when well boiled—I enjoy the most—it is delicious! But peel off the hard part first)
  • Let them boil enough until they have lost their toughness and softened considerably.
  • Remove them from the stove and set aside.

Dressing:

  • Mix together one tablespoon of corn starch with one tablespoon water.
  • Mix well with a finger until they soften to a cream like substance.
  • Add the crocus (yellow part) of an egg with the juice of a lemon, and a small amount of the liquid in which the artichokes were boiled in.
  • Pour this liquid very slowly into a pot and boil on a very low fire while mixing continuously until the sauce thickens.
  • Pour slowly over the artichoke and let sit for 10-15 minutes until the artichoke pieces have absorbed most of the liquid.

Enjoy!

 

  1. Another Easier Recipe!
  • Boil the whole Artichoke—but still peel off tougher leaves and cut off the stem. Boil for a long time—around 40 minutes, until soft.
  • Remove from the water, place on a dish.
  • Mix half a cup of olive oil with the juice of a lemon.
  • Peel off each leaf, dip in the olive oil/lemon mix, and scrape the inside of the leaf, either with a spoon—or as Greeks do, by putting it in your mouth and scraping it with your teeth! Do NOT swallow the leaf!!!  Enjoy!

 

If you have questions on any of the above herbs and their use, please contact me:

Ask Charoula about Herbs

All answers are posted on our website E-Wellness.com, on the following Friday.

Thanks for reading!

Charoula Dontopoulos
Certified Herbalist
Holistic Health Advisor
BC Polarity Therapy Practitioner

 


Questions and Answers

Q: Having not seen any fresh artichokes anywhere in my area, except canned, are canned as beneficial as the fresh ones??

A: True! One really needs to live in an environment where you can grow any vegetables outdoors year round because they are mostly mild winter veges—in the Mediterranean area, and here in the US South, they grow them in the winter!  However, I have seen them in supermarkets in the East, when we lived in NY, and occasionally here in OH, so they could be sold anywhere, if there was moderate demand. However, I think canned artichokes are actually very good, tasty, and will retain their properties if preserved.  Now and then I have seen the hearts frozen in a supermarket, but not too often.

Q: I have heard (and once I myself found this to be true) that the leaves are often tough, and can even cause choking, is that true?

A: I have heard this, and have discussed it with people, and what I tell them is the following:

First of all, we have to be well acquainted with artichokes, their physical make up etc. We must make sure we know how to prepare them: take off some external leaves, the toughest, but leave enough around the heart of the artichoke, so they all boil well together. The leaves right around the heart are much softer than the leaves on the outside—which is why we must experiment and make sure we take the rough outside part off, but do not take all the leaves off and leave just the heart. It is something we need to practice and learn!

 

………………………………

Please do consult your Holistic Health Practitioner, and most importantly your Herbalist before you use any herb, whether as a tincture, a tea, or a standardized extract.  Herbs are powerful!!!

I would love to hear more of your questions on any of our blogs, and specifically on any Issues you are wondering about!  Thanks for sending in your questions!

Ask Charoula about Herbs

Charoula