Artichoke

Artichoke

Artichoke is a perennial plant that resembles a thistle and belongs to the composite family. It can grow up to 2 metres in height and is composed of large split leaves. In July, large blueish-purple flowers blossom. It is interesting to note that its stamens are irritants. When it comes into contact with an insect, for example, the filaments contract and a pinch of pollen is delivered by the anthers.

Latin name

Cynara scolymus L.

Origin

The artichoke and cardoon probably share a common ancestor: wild cardoon is found throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Used part

The leaves.

Active components

Phenolic acids (cynarine, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid): these substances are powerful antioxidants. Cynarine is responsible for the artichoke’s bitter taste and its stimulating effect on the liver, among other properties.

Flavonoids (luteolin): this yellow colourant is also a powerful antioxidant.

Inulin: this sweet tasting polysaccharide is indigestible by humans but contributes to healthy intestinal flora.

Usage

The use of the artichoke dates back to ancient times. It is one of the longest cultivated vegetables in the world: it was, for example, cultivated by the Greeks and the Romans at the height of their powers. Later on, it was also used as an ornamental plant in the gardens of the monasteries. Its fleshy receptacle and the base of its bracts are edible as a vegetable, while the leaves are used in phytotherapy and the manufacture of aperitifs. Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and therefore offer protection against free radicals. 1 Artichokes support detoxification and liver function. 2,4 It protects the liver against the effects of toxic substances. 5,11 Moreover, the plant is known to stimulate digestion and support intestinal comfort. 12-15

Bibliographical references

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The health claims that feature on our website in relation to the plants contained in our products are compliant with the list of health claims awaiting final assessment by the Community authorities (cf. website of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/nuhclaims/). However, they may be subject to modification following their assessment by the national competent authorities.

The health claims relating to other nutrients or substances contained in our products that feature on our site are compliant with Regulation No. 432/2012 of the Commission of 16 May 2012 which establishes a list of authorised health claims authorised in relation to food products, other than those in reference to the reduction of the risk of disease as well as community-based development and child health (cf. website of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/nuhclaims/).