ARTICHOKE, Cynara scolymus

Artichoke plant

When the Lord drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, He cursed the earth with thorns and thistles and told Adam and Eve they would have to eat herbs of the field. But you know, maybe that wasn’t all that bad. A lot of the herbs that had the thistles turned out to be edible and really tasted pretty good. In fact, if the Lord hadn’t put the sickness and thorns on a lot of these herbs they would have all been eaten up and gone a long time ago.

Let’s take the artichoke for example. Undoubtedly, Adam sweat plenty as he was cutting this thistle and other herbs out of his garden until he learned that a lot of the herbs and thistles could be use for medicine and many were edible and some of them tasted pretty good. Most of us since the time of Adam, haven’t learned much about weeds and herbs. We still sweat as we chop the thistles and herbs out of our fields and garden instead of learning to use them.

The artichoke is a perennial thistle that has a history that goes way back to Egypt. The Egyptians cultivated this thistle till the head grew very large and it didn’t have so many stickers and thorns. In Europe, it is known as the aristocrat of all vegetables. Many folks grow it as a flower in a flower garden and harvest the globe or choke as it matures. My friend says that each of his plants will yield about nine or ten blossoms or chokes a year. They have fresh artichokes most of the summer. However, the artichoke is more than just a delicious food. For thousands of years it has been used as an aid to digestion. An herb that is good for digestion is usually as bitter as sin. The artichoke is no different. That is why you boil them so long without a lid-to help get rid of the bitter taste. To make a digestive aid, take some artichoke leaves or roots and steep them into a tea. Take a tablespoon of the tea before each meal and it will stimulate the digestive juices. It will sweeten a sour stomach, aid indigestion and sweeten a sour disposition. If the tea is too bitter, you can dilute it by adding some honey or fruit juices.

Artichoke is also good for the liver. It contains a principal called cholagogic that is made into a medicine that helps the liver to excrete bile. It will clean the toxins from the liver problems. Some say this bitter tea will help to stimulate and cleanse the pancreas also. In doing this, it would help low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. The artichoke is a best friend to the kidney because it is a diuretic. The bitter tea will help get rid of unwanted body fluids like, edema or dropsy, that collect in the feet and legs. Likewise, astichoke tea has been helpful for those who suffer without gout. Maurice Messegue says artichoke tea is good for circulation, to the extent that it prevents most illnesses that cholesterol causes, such as hardening of the arteries, angina, heart attacks and cerebral congestion, rheumatism, asthma and eczema.

With cholesterol on everyone’s mind it makes the artichoke an important food to eat and an herb to grow in our gardens. I heard of a man who had a cholesterol problem and he couldn’t get his blood pressure down. When artichokes came into season, he ate them slightly cooked with lemon, olive oil, and sea salt. The next time he had his blood pressure checked, his blood pressure was down. Studies show that artichoke will help get rid of cholesterol. Artichokes provide some minerals such as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. They are low in calories and high in fiber. Most vegetables have some medical value and others have a lot. If we were wise, we would learn more about the plants we eat. They could make healthy or even save your life.


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