Someone ask me recently if artichokes really do bloom.  They do.  Spectacularly, in my opinion.  Globe artichokes, Cynara scolymus, is a member of the Asteraceae family.  It is a perennial thistle that has been cultivated to its present appearance over centuries and is closely related to C. cardunculus, or the cardoon.  Both of which have both been grown and enjoyed as vegetables.  The artichoke is a rich source of dietary fiber (41% of the daily recommendation), and includes 45 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 126 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.  In addition, it also includes significant amounts of folate (107 mcg), vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, manganese and vitamin C.  Cynara is a source for lutein, a carotenoid, antioxidant, and flavonoids.  Cynarin and silymarin, compounds in artichoke, act as cholagogues and aid liver function.  Artichokes have also been identified as one of the highest sources of dietary antioxidants, and as such are valuable at scavenging all those free radicals in our bodies, potentially preventing or reversing disease.  All in all, a pretty impressive thistle…that blooms.
Copyright Colleen Gondolfi 2012
Coila, B. (2010). Nutritional Values for Artichokes.…
Hoffmann, D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press: Rochester VT.

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