Artichoke (Globe/Garden Artichoke) (Cynara scolymus)

Family: Asteraceae

Parts commonly used: Leaf (both new and old leaves).

Properties/energetics: Bitter, digestive, liver protective and restorative, choleretic, cholagogue/Cool, moist; sweet, bitter, slightly salty.

Systems predominantly affected:  Liver, gallbladder, urinary.

Uses: Globe Artichoke is an excellent pleasant-tasting bitter, and, like Milk Thistle, it is liver protective and regenerative. Although maybe not quite as effective as Milk Thistle in dealing with liver damage, it has the advantage of being a stronger choleretic (promotes formation of bile) and cholagogue (promotes flowof bile). This quality makes artichoke particularly useful when there is liver congestion, and it has proved itself a good remedy when there is poor bile flow with associated difficulty digesting fats, increased levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides, or gallstones.

Combinations: Combines well with Ashwagandha and Dandelion root as a decoction. Makes a great bitter tonic mixed with Peppermint before meals. This combination also makes an excellent tea for those experiencing chronic hepatitis.

Affects on specific body types: Artichoke is a potent remedy that is mild in its action. It can be a useful tonic for all three constitutional types, but, as with most bitter herbs, the Seer type should not take too much. In small quantities, it will aid the Seer by optimizing variable liver function, increasing digestive secretions, and assisting in the digestion of fats and proteins. For the Warrior and the Monarch types, it is particularly useful for protecting against high blood fats and gallstones. Everyone will benefit from its ability to protect and regenerate the liver, buffering individuals from the harmful effects of environmental pollutants, rancid fats, alcohol indulgence, and so on.

Precautions: Can interfere with milk flow during breastfeeding.

Preparation and dosage: Decoction: 1/2 cup three times a day. Tincture: 30 to 40 drops two to three times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition