0. Health: Artichoke, your Skin and Cholesterol





Cách dùng:

Artichoke khi còn tươi, chưa nấu thì không có mùi gì đặc biệt. Nhưng khi hầm với nước thì có mùi thơm thật dễ chịu. Cách dùng artichoke dễ nhất và đơn giản nhất là chẻ dọc trái này ra làm tư. Bỏ vào soang lớn. Đổ khoảng 4 lít nước vào soang. Xong đậy nắp và mở lửa nhỏ để hầm riu riu cho nhừ. Chỉ có vậy thôi. Nước dùng để uống như nước trà, nhưng mùi thơm dịu dàng, vị rất dễ chịu, không đắng, không nồng, không gắt,.. thật khó tả! Uống vài lần sẽ rất thích, mà không muốn dùng đến trà nữa.

Artichoke cũng có thể dùng để hầm với xương heo, xương bò làm canh hoặc làm súp.


The Artichoke and Your Health

Today we know that the artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system.  But do you know what it can do for YOU? (info)
Most people consider food strictly by way of their palates or stomachs. For them, food is eaten for the pleasure of it or for the satisfied, full feeling after a meal. Still others eat only what the taste buds or habit dictate without any thought as to what is healthy for the body or not. However, food is more than habit or psychological comfort, it is also a kind of natural medicine…or poison for the system.

ANY illness can be traced to one of three factors: genetic, environmental or poor nutritional habits. And of these, the food you eat or don’t eat is the first most contributing factor to ill health. Very few people are aware of the effects of food on the system and intentionally eat certain foods for a period of time to initiate a positive health improvement.

Poor dietary habits can trigger genetic tendencies such as cancers and many other illnesses. Yet the medical ‘industry’ concentrates on a pharmaceutical/symptomatic approach to health care. The direct relationship between what you eat (or don’t) and health is minimally taught in the majority of medical schools that traditionally concentrate more on disease rather than prevention of ‘dis-ease’ and maintenance of good health. 


Let us consider the artichoke and the very long list of health benefits it offers.  But first, there are artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes which are a different plant and not an artichoke at all nor from Jerusalem. 

This article is about true artichokes or the Cynar scolymus,

member of the thistle family (globe artichoke, etc.). Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) is a member of the sunflower family and is not a true artichoke at all – it is the tuber that is eaten. Both have cynarin and silymarin, however the true artichoke (cynar scolymus), globe artichoke and varieties have higher levels of both and are the kind used most for liver/gall and more treatment.  

The choke (heart) of small artichokes or the Spanish or Italian varieties, can be eaten whole.  There are no hairs to remove as is the case with larger varieties.

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, ‘cleaning’ the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health and diet food and Plinius described it as the ‘food for the rich’ because of the health problems contributed to a ‘rich’ life style – excessive in rich foods, fats and wine that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

Today we know that the artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function (thus helping to lower the blood cholesterol), arteriosclerosis, gout, supports the treatment of hepatitis and improves the gall secretions. It can slightly lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood). As it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins it also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity.

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver’s ability to regenerate its cells. Obviously, nothing can help advanced cirrhosis of the liver. Most liver problems by the way, are self-inflicted.

The liver’s main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An overstressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition – a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.

What to do?

Take an honest appraisal of your diet, recognize unhealthy habits and develop a better understanding of the importance of a properly functioning liver. After serious drinking and weeks of fat-rich foods, do something good for your liver. Give it a break and help it to recuperate.

When artichokes are  in season, go on a short term Artichoke ‘Cure’ (treatment, diet)! Discover new recipes and eat them as a main meal for several days. Repeat for as long as they are in season, varying the menu with small amounts of meat and other vegetables. Artichokes only have about 25 calories. Eat fish and poultry 3 times a week and cut out red meat for while. Avoid all animal fats during this time, use olive oil instead and avoid all strong alcohol. A few glasses of red wine a day helps the red blood cell production as well, however abstain from even wine for the several days to a week before adding a small glass with your meal. Another positive side to artichokes and improved liver function is that weight loss is easier as the metabolic assimilation of food is more efficient.


use the leaves you normally throw away. You will need about 12-15 leaves per half litre (approx. 2 cups) of boiling water. Pour over the chopped leaves and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Strain and drink 2 cups during the day. You may sweeten with honey if you like. However, an easier method is to purchase an excellent extract by the W. Schoenenberger, Salus or A. Vogel companies from the health food shop).


once trimmed, the versatile Spanish or Italian artichoke (remember you can eat the whole choke) can be cooked whole, sliced lengthways, halved, quartered or chopped, pre-cooked in a little water or broth and used in rice dishes, potato dishes, salads or as a topping for pizzas. They can be fried, steamed, boiled, stuffed, chopped with other ingredients for a filling for tomatoes, served with sauces. Chop the hearts very fine and they can be used in vinaigrette, mayonnaise, mixed with cooked egg or grated cheese or used in omelettes.  Then there’s quiche, pasta and risotto dishes – you are only limited by your imagination!

What am I having today? A large plate of artichoke slices with turkey in a delicious light sauce, and a glass or two of wine!

Source: http://www.epicureantable.com/articles/aartichoke.htm                               




(Known as Artichoke Concentrate)






A Compound in Artichokes Reduces Cholesterol and Supports Digestion

by Jame Pendleton

A key chemical in artichokes stimulates digestion, protects the liver, and lowers triglycerides and cholesterol

Cynarin is a phenolic acid compound found in the green leaves and seeds of artichokes (Cynara cardunculus). It has the chemical formula C25H24O11, a molecular weight of 516.45, and the official name 1,3-dicaffeoyl quinic acid. Green artichoke leaves contain about 2% cynarin but exact content varies with season, region, and extracting practices. Fennel (Foeniculum vugare) and echinacea species also contain at least trace amounts of cynarin.

Responsible for the sensation of sweetness that occurs after eating artichokes, it appears to suppress bitter tongue taste receptors while enhancing the sweet ones. After eating raw or steamed artichokes this sensation lingers and one may experience sweetness even when drinking water.

Pharmacological Properties of Cynarin

Artichokes are considered to have cholagogue and choleretic properties. They signal the liver to increase the production of bile and then stimulate the gallbladder to secrete this bile into the duodenum of the small intestine. These actions prevent the build up of sludge and stones in the gallbladder and help the body to absorb lipid-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Cynarin has the following properties:

  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Bile stimulating (cholagogue and choleretic)
  • Liver supportive & protective
  • Hepato-regenerative
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Diuretic
  • Kidney protective
  • Sweetener
  • Reduce blood sugar

In vitro and vivo studies involving human and animal models have substantiated the protective and regenerative effects of cynarin on the liver. Mixed reviews remain regarding its effectiveness in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. Some studies show positive results while others allude that a fellow compound in artichokes called luteolin is more statin-like in its cholesterol lowering effects.

Digestive Support

Cynarin has been indicated anecdotally and in human trials as a gentle and effective treatment for bloating, flatulence, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Use in Detoxification Strategies

Compounds that stimulate bile production and secretion are important in any detoxification strategy. When toxins enter the body from the environment they are either stored in tissues or transported to the liver. In the liver, a complex assortment of enzymes attempts to neutralize and excrete them as bile salts. Detoxification programs often stimulate the mobilization of stored toxins into the blood in which they are then transported to the liver. Bile-stimulating compounds like cynarin then facilitate a quicker elimination of toxin-laden bile into the digestive tract where it can be eliminated in the feces.

Effective Cynarin Dosage Recommendations

Substantiation exists for the following conditions:

  • Choleretic properties: 200-250 mg three times a day.
  • Cholesterol and triglycerides reduction: 60-1500 mg a day.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: 320-1920 mg a day


No major adverse reactions or toxicity has been reported in animal or human models.


Additional Resources

I. Kewensis, “Cynarin and chlorogenic acid content in germinanting seeds of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.),” Journal of Genetic Breeding 46 (1992): 63-69.

H. Heckers et al., “Inefficiency of cynarin as therapeutic regimen in familial type II hyperlipoproteinaemia.,” Atherosclerosis 26, no. 2 (1977): 249.

Jan Fritsche et al., “Isolation, characterization and determination of minor artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) leaf extract compounds,” European Food Research and Technology 215, no. 2 (2002): 149-157, doi:10.1007/s00217-002-0507-0 .

M. Montini et al., “Controlled application of cynarin in the treatment of hyperlipemic syndrome. Observations in 60 cases,” Arzneimittel-Forschung 25, no. 8 (1975): 1311.





(Artichokes and that sweet taste)

Category: Food
Posted on: February 27, 2007 9:28 PM, by Molecule of the Day

I am always completely confused when I meet someone who doesn’t like artichokes. Not in the cheese-based dip, though that’s not bad, either. I take my artichokes steamed, with a big bowl of drawn salted butter. The savory-sweet taste, the smooth texture, that puzzling satisfaction of only getting a little food out of your substantial efforts (sunflower seeds, anyone?), and the fact that it’s probably the only food you eat by biting down and pulling the free end from your mouth all add to the experience.

My favorite thing about artichokes, though, is the fact that everything tastes oddly sweet afterwards. For that, we can thank cynarin.

# InChI=1/C25H24O12/c26-15-5-1-13(9-17(15)28)3-7-21(31)36-20-12-25(24(34)35,11-19(30)23(20)33)37-22(32)8-4-14-2-6-16(27)18(29)10-14/h1-10,19-20,23,26-30,33H,11-12H2,(H,34,35)/b7-3+,8-4+

Cynarin is named for the artichoke (Cynara scolymus) and, as this post at The Daily Transcript shows, is responsible for a good chunk of artichokes’ capacity for taste perversion. As seems to happen with many polyphenolic compounds in plants, some people are looking into whether there’s any beneficial effects to their consumption.
There isn’t much the Italians haven’t used in a liqueur of some sort. Unsurprisingly, then, they have made a liqueur out of artichokes, Cynar. I’m told it contains cynarin and has the same sweet aftereffects as artichokes. I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure if I ever come across some, scientific curiosity will surely overwhelm any potential queasiness. Should you have some Cynar and not understand what it’s all about, here’s an article on learning to enjoy it.

Thanks, Internet!

Source: http://scienceblogs.com/moleculeoftheday/2007/02/cynarin_artichokes_and_that_sw.php


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