Looking for a safe, natural, effective way to detox? Consider the artichoke, which has been prized for centuries as a culinary delicacy and a potent liver and blood cleanser. Artichokes are actually the buds of a plant that originated in the Mediterranean region. Today, global artichoke cultivation is concentrated in Italy, Spain, and France. California provides nearly 100% of the artichokes that are grown in the United States.
Because they are loaded with fiber and rich in antioxidants, artichokes are a great addition to any low-fat diet. They contain significant amounts of cynarin and silymarin, which are natural substances that have superior detoxification capabilities.
Artichokes can be purchased fresh, canned or frozen. If you decide to prepare fresh artichokes for your family, choose globes that are deep green and have a tight leaf formation. If you are not going to use them immediately be sure to sprinkle them with a little water and refrigerate in an airtight plastic bag. They will last up to a week if they are stored properly.
Although they are usually steamed, artichokes can also be boiled, grilled, microwaved or prepared in a pressure cooker. When the artichoke is ready to eat, the leaves are removed one at a time and the fleshy base part is consumed, often after being dipped into lemon juice or an olive oil and garlic mixture. Once the leaves are eaten you will see a bed of fuzzy strands covering the heart. Scoop out the strands with a spoon and discard. The heart is edible and many people consider it the most delicious part of the artichoke. Marinated artichoke hearts are often used in salads or as appetizers.
The artichoke extract that is used for medicinal purposes is derived from the serrated leaves at the base of the plant. Studies have confirmed that artichoke extract helps eliminate toxic wastes, normalize blood cholesterol levels and lower blood lipids. It has been proven especially effective against toxins such as carbon tetrachloride and alcohol and it supports the regeneration of damaged liver cells. Artichoke extract also improves digestion and is often recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal problems.
Available in liquid, capsule or powder form, artichoke extract can be purchased in natural health stores. It is also available as a tea that is made from the dried leaves. The extract comes in a variety of potency levels. Talk with your holistic health professional to determine which concentration of artichoke extract best suits your needs.
Our bodies are constantly bombarded by toxins from the foods we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Consider adding artichoke extract as an exceptional natural detox aid to your health regimen to protect your liver and your overall health.
Artichoke is likely safe when consumed in amounts used in foods. Artichoke is possibly safe when taken by mouth as a medicine. It has been used safely in research for up to 23 months.In some people, artichoke can cause side effects such as gas, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
Gallstones: Artichoke might make gallstones worse by increasing bile flow.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking artichoke if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bile duct obstruction: There is concern that artichoke might worsen bile duct obstruction by increasing bile flow. If you have this condition, don’t use artichoke without first talking with your healthcare provider.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Artichoke may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking artichoke.