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Originating from the Mediterranean regions, this perennial plant is now widely cultivated all over the world.
The botanical name Cynara scolymus is derived in part from the tradition of fertilising the plant with ashes (Latin: cinis, cineris), and partly from the Greek word skolymos, meaning “thistle” from the spines found on the bracts (they are not leaves) that enclose the ﬂower heads forming the edible portion of the plant.
According to Greek myth, the artichoke owes its existence to Zeus who fell in love with Cynara, a mortal. He took her to Olympus however, the beauty missed her life on earth and one evening Cynara snuck back to her hometown. Upon her return to Olympus, Zeus was enraged and sent her home, in the form of an artichoke.
Globe artichokes are not only a culinary delight, but also a well-known and popular herbal medicine.
Traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine to:
Artichoke has been known since the 4th century B.C. as a food and remedy. This plant has been appreciated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who used it both as a food and as a medicine.
Native to central North America, Jerusalem Artichoke is now grown throughout the world in cold-tolerant temperatures. Also referred to as Sunroot, Sunchoke or Earth Apple, this perennial plant is recognised for its small yellow flowers, hairy oval shaped leaves and an underground rhizome system which bears small tubers.
Interestingly, the name “Jerusalem artichoke” is misleading as it is a type of sunflower in the same genus as the garden sunflower; however, it has no relation to Jerusalem, neither is it a type of artichoke.
The plant is a natural source of inulin used for its prebiotic fibre to help keep the gut happy by maintaining bowel regularity.
Jerusalem artichoke tubers have a long history of human consumption, and the plant’s green matter has a long history as animal food.