Many decades ago when I visited California for the first time I fell in love with Artichokes and that was long before I met my Californian husband Bill Tara. However, many years later Bill took me on a trip to Castroville (the home of the worlds best artichokes).  I have to agree with him that they are indeed delicious and fleshy and the most succulent artichokes I have ever tasted.
In Scotland we do have some tasty artichokes for a short time and when they are in season I cook them a couple of times a week. Globe artichokes are an excellent source of dietary fibre, magnesium, and the trace mineral chromium. They are a very good source of Vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, and the trace mineral manganese. They are a good source of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, and potassium.

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, ‘cleaning’ the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health and diet food and Plinius described it as the ‘food for the rich’ because of the health problems contributed to a ‘rich’ life style – excessive in rich foods, fats and wine that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

Artihoke halfToday we know that the artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function (thus helping to lower the blood cholesterol), arteriosclerosis, and gout, supports the treatment of hepatitis and improves the gall secretions. It can slightly lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood). As it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins it also has the added side effect of improved skin luminosity.

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (particularly strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver’s ability to regenerate its cells. It really is of paramount importance to take good care of your liver, it’s the ‘govenor’ and deserves lots of T.L.C.

The liver’s main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An overstressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition – a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.


Since ancient times, the globe artichoke has been used as a digestive aid and to ease liver and gallbladder disorders. Its main active constituent is Cynarin, a phytochemical which enhances digestion, particularly following high meals in fat. Studies have shown that cynarin reduces nausea, abdominal pain, constipation and flatulence in people who regularly experience digestive problems. Artichokes may also help to lower high cholesterol levels by inhibiting the production of more cholesterol.

Beta-carotene, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Fiber

To cook;
Cut off the stems, trim any ragged edges from the tips and place the artichokes in a pan with water submerging the artichokes about half way up. Drizzle a little olive oil in the centre of each artichoke. Add a few slices of lemon to the pan, bring the water to a boil and simmer for around 40 minutes until the leaves pull out easily.
To eat;
Once drained, serve whole. Eat by pulling off and eating the individual petals, dipping in the sauce, and scraping the succulent part of the petals with your teeth. When you get to the round area at the base, scoop out the fuzzy top layer and enjoy the heart!

Serve with some tasty vegan mayonnaise or make a vinaigrette dip (1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp mustard of your choice, salt, freshly ground pepper, delicious!

There are over 200 delicious recipes in my book ‘Macrobiotics for all Seasons’ available world wide on amazon.

In good health


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