Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) is a perennial thistle native to Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. This vegetable has been used since ancient times by the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and many others.
Although today artichokes are mainly consumed for food, they have many medicinal uses. Commonly a healthy herbal tea is made from their dried leaves. However, you can also make the tea by boiling the whole artichoke in a pot of water - this is the method I prefer.
Wash the whole artichoke and cut out the end of the stem. Simply slice the artichoke in half (or leave it whole) and boil it in water until the water turns to light green or greenish brown color. I usually let it boil for 10 minutes. The artichoke tea can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to a week. In less than 15 minutes you will have a healthy drink that the whole family can enjoy.
Here are a few of health benefits of drinking artichoke tea.
- Liver Health
Artichoke contains an ingredient called cynarin, which is liver protectant. It can also help the liver by stimulating the production and excretion of bile, improving the flow of the bile duct. Furthermore, artichoke is often used as a diuretic for detoxification of the liver and other organs. Regular use can greatly improve liver and gall bladder functions.
- Digestive Health
As mentioned above, artichoke stimulates the flow of bile - this helps improve fat digestion and metabolism. Artichoke also contains bioactive agents that promote beneficial gut bacteria. Drinking artichoke tea can relieve digestive symptom including heartburn, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating.
- Lower Cholesterol
Studies have shown artichoke lowers levels of HDL cholesterol while raising levels of beneficial LDL cholesterol. This may due to large amounts of antioxidants, like flavonoids, that can be found in the leaves of the artichoke head.
- Lowering Blood Sugar
Substances found in artichokes such as cynarin and inulin reduces the level of glucose in the blood. In addition, artichoke has a very low glycemic index and large amounts of dietary fiber.
It's clear that artichoke tea is a wonderful drink. Next time instead of drinking chemical and sugar laced soft drinks or juices, why not try some artichoke tea. It is a great tasting and refreshing drink which can be served hot or cold, but more importantly, artichoke tea will also improve your health and your family's health in many ways.