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Herbs & Plants

Cardoon

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Botanical Name :Cynara cardunculus
Family : Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus : Cynara L. – cynara
Species : Cynara cardunculus L. – cardoon
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision : Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class : Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass : Asteridae
Order : Asterales

Common Names:Cardoon,artichoke thistle, cardone, cardoni, carduni or cardi

Habitat : Cardoon  is native to the Mediterranean, where it was domesticated in ancient times.Stony or waste places and in dry grassland, usually on clay

Description:
Cynara cardunculus is a PERENNIAL growing to 2 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.

 

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation :
Prefers a light warm soil and an open position in full sun. For best results, this plant requires plenty of moisture in the growing season and a good rich soil , though another report says that it is drought tolerant once established. Plants grew very well with us in the hot and very dry summer of 1995, though they were looking very tatty by September. Tolerates most soils including heavy clays of both acid and alkaline nature, especially when grown in heavier or more spartan soils. Plants are reasonably wind resistant. This species is hardy to about -10°c. Plants are more likely to require protection from winter cold when they are grown in a heavy soil. Wet winters can do more harm than cold ones. At one time the cardoon was often grown for its edible stems but it has now fallen into virtual disuse. There are some named varieties. It is a very ornamental foliage plant and makes a very attractive feature in the garden. The leaves are long lasting in water and are often used in flower arrangements. Recent taxonomic revisions (1999) have seen the globe artichoke being merged into this species. However, since from the gardener’s point of view it is quite a distinctive plant, we have decided to leave it with its own entry in the database under Cynara scolymus. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation :
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually quick and good, prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions during the summer. It would be prudent to give the plants some winter protection in their first year. The seed can also be sown in situ in April. Sow the seed 2cm deep, putting 2 or 3 seeds at each point that you want a plant. Protect the seed from mice. Division of suckers. This is best done in November and the suckers overwintered in a cold frame then planted out in April. Division can also be carried out in March/April with the divisions being planted out straight into their permanent positions, though the plants will be smaller in their first year.

Edible Uses:
While the flower buds can be eaten much as the artichoke, more often the stems are eaten after being braised in cooking liquid. Battered and fried, the stems are also traditionally served at St. Joseph’s altars in New Orleans.

The stalks, which look like large celery stalks, can be served steamed or braised. They have an artichoke-like flavor. Cardoons are available in the market only in the winter months. In the U.S.A., it is rarely found in stores, but available in farmers’ markets, where it is available through May, June, and July. The main root can also be boiled and served cold.   Acclaimed chef Mario Batali calls the cardoon one of his favorite vegetables and says they have a “very sexy flavor.”

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Cardoons are also an ingredient in one of the national dishes of Spain, the cocido madrileño, a slow-cooking, one-pot, meat and vegetable dinner simmered in broth.

In the Abruzzi region of Italy, Christmas lunch is traditionally started with a soup of cardoons cooked in chicken broth with little meatballs (lamb or more rarely, beef), sometimes with the further addition of egg (which scrambles in the hot soup – called stracciatella) or fried chopped liver and heart.

Medicinal Uses:
Anticholesterolemic;  Cholagogue;  Digestive;  Diuretic.

The cardoon has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder function, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels. The leaves are anticholesterolemic, antirheumatic, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and lithontripic. They are used internally in the treatment of chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and the early stages of late-onset diabetes. The leaves are best harvested just before the plant flowers, and can be used fresh or dried.

The cardoon has become important as a medicinal herb in recent years following the discovery of cynarin. This bitter-tasting compound, which is found in the leaves, improves liver and gall bladder function, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, and lowers blood cholesterol levels.  The leaves  are used internally in the treatment of chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis and the early stages of late-onset diabetes.

Other uses:
Cardoons are used as a vegetarian source of enzymes for cheese production. In Portugal, traditional coagulation of the curd relies entirely on this vegetable rennet. This results in cheeses such as the Nisa (D.O.P.), with a peculiar earthy, herbaceous and a slightly citric flavour that bears affinity with full-bodied or fortified wines.

Cardoon has attracted recent attention as a possible source of biodiesel. The oil, extracted from the seeds of the cardoon, and called artichoke oil, is similar to safflower and sunflower oil in composition and use

The plant is said to yield a good yellow dye, though the report does not say which part of the plant is used.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cynara%20cardunculus
http://www.nathankramer.com/garden/omaha/041002-18.JPG
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardoon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cynara_cardunculus_(Kalmthout).jpg

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CYCA&photoID=cyca_004_ahp.tif

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Artichoke

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Botanical Name:Cynara Scolymus
Family:Asteraceae
Tribe:Cynareae
Genus:Cynara
Species: C. scolymus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Asterales

Common Name : Artichoke, Globe Artichoke

Habitat: Artichoke native to the Mediterranean region. Both wild forms and cultivated varieties (cultivars) exist.

Description:  The Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50  to 80 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8 to 15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of inedible immature florets in the center of the bud are called the “choke.”

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A globe artichoke is a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean.

Artichoke may also refer to:

Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower
Chinese artichoke, a species of woundwort
Project ARTICHOKE, a CIA operation
PH Artichoke, a designer Light fixture

Artichoke, Cardoon

Cultivation:
Globe Artichokes were first cultivated at Naples around the middle of the 9th century, and are said to have been introduced to France by Catherine de’ Medici, Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they were growing in Henry VIII’s garden at Newhall in 1530. They were introduced to the United States in the 19th century, to Louisiana by French immigrants and to California by Spanish immigrants. The name has originated from ardi shauki , which is Arabic for ground-thorn, through the Italian, articiocco.

An artichoke flower.Today, the Globe Artichoke cultivation is concentrated in the contries bordering the Mediterranean basin. The main producers are Italy, Spain, and France. In the United States, California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop, and approximately 80 percent of that is grown in Monterey County; there, Castroville proclaims itself to be “The Artichoke Center of the World”. The cultivar ‘Green Globe‘ is virtually the only kind grown commercially in the U.S.

Artichokes can be produced from seeds or from perennials. Perennials produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent year, while varieties from seeds can be annual. Commercial culture is limited to warm areas in USDA hardiness zone 7 and above. It requires good soil, regular watering and feeding plus frost protection in winter. Rooted suckers can be planted each year so that mature specimens can be disposed of after a few years, as each individual plant only lives a few years. The peak season for artichoke harvesting is the spring, but they continue to be harvested throughout the summer, with another peak period in mid autumn.

When harvesting, if they are cut from the ground so as to leave an inch or two of stem, artichokes possess good keeping qualities, frequently remaining quite fresh for two weeks or longer under average retail conditions.

The recently introduced hybrid cultivar ‘Imperial Star’ has been bred to produce in the first year without such measures. An even newer cultivar, ‘Northern Star’, is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates, and readily survive sub-zero temperatures. A second generation of new hybrid cultivars were bred during the last decade, much more homogeneous and stable than the former and more suitable for professional growers.

Apart from food use, the Globe Artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flowerheads.

Varieties
Traditionally, globe artichoke has been grown by vegetative propagation of suckers, although seed planted cultivars has been introduced in the latest years.

Traditional cultivars (Vegetative multiplication):
Green color, large size: Camus de Bretagne, Castel, Blanc Hyerois (France), Green globe (USA).
Green color, medium size: Blanca de Tudela (Spain), Argentina, Española (Chile), Blanc d’Oran (Algeria), Sakiz, Bayrampsha (Turkey).
Purple color, large size: Romanesco, C3 (Italy).
Purple color, medium size: Violet de Provence (France), Brindisino, Catanese (Italy), Violet d’Algerie (Algeria), Baladi (Egypt).
Spined: Spinoso sardo (Italy), Criolla (Peru).
Varieties multipled by seeds:

Edible  Uses:

Cooking
Whole Globe Artichokes are prepared for cooking by removing all but 5-10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender, about 15-45 minutes. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation.

The leaves are often removed and eaten one at a time, sometimes dipped in butter, mayonnaise, aioli, or other sauces.


Tea

Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea; artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Dalat region of Vietnam.photo.

Liquor
Artichoke is the primary flavor of the Italian liquor Cynar.

Medical uses:
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarine is a chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.

Studies have shown artichoke to aid digestion, liver function and gallbladder function, and raise the ratio of HDL to LDL. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Its effect in arresting pathogenic bacteria may be attributed to the notable presence of phenolic compounds. Both are higher in the baby anzio artichoke (Cyrnara scolymus). Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Artichoke leaves contain a wide number of active constituents, including cynarin,1,3 dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid, and scolymoside. The choleretic (bile stimulating) action of the plant has been well documented.In an un controll clinical trial it is observed that 320 -640 mg of stadardized artichoke extract taken three times per day can reduce nausea,abdominal pain, constipation,and flatulence .

The standard extract has been used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke.  An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant.  In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic.  This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension.     It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.  Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia.  It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear.  The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.  In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments.   Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter.  A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.  It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes.  It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.  In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.

Ethnomedical Uses
Dried or fresh leaves and/or stems of Cynara are used as a choleretic (to increase bile production), to treat gallstones, and as a tonic for convalescence.

Cynarin is the principal active constituent in Cynara; research in 2005 found that cynarin causes an increase in bile flow.

You may click to learn more about Artichoke

Known Hazards: Can cause allergic reactions (dermatitis) due to lactones. . Use with caution in cases of biliary obstruction. May hinder breast feeding (lactation)

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artichoke
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/artic066.html
http://www.prevention.com/cda/vendorarticle/artichoke/HN2038002/health/herb.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cynara+scolymus

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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