Scientific Name: Cynara cardunculus
Artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) are also known as French artichoke or globe artichoke. An artichoke is the edible flower bud from artichoke plants. Artichokes are not only eaten as vegetables, but they are also used for making a Vietnamese tea (called: trà atisô). There are two types of artichoke teas: a sweet, nutty, yellow tea made from artichoke flowers and a bitter, black tea made from artichoke stems. Most artichoke teas can be made by also boiling artichoke leaves (dried or fresh leaves) in water and letting it steep. Apart from being delicious, artichoke tea is a vitamin and mineral-rich herbal tea, and therefore has many health benefits.
Artichokes are high in dietary fiber (22% daily value [DV]). Dietary fiber is found in most fruits and vegetables, and like these other foods, the fiber content in artichokes can help keep the digestive system healthy. Artichokes are a good source of indigestible sugar polymers, a type of fiber that may improve intestinal/gut bacteria flora. This, in turn, may relieve the symptoms of indigestion and nausea. Artichokes also contain no cholesterol and minimal amounts of saturated fat.
In addition to its fiber content, artichoke is rich in vitamin C (20% DV), which is a crucial antioxidant nutrient. Vitamin C may fight against free radicals, thereby decreasing inflammation and improving one's immunity. Vitamin C is also needed in many different chemical reactions in our body, such as collagen production. Besides vitamins, artichokes contain many minerals such as magnesium (15% DV), potassium (11% DV), copper (12% DV), and manganese (13% DV). These minerals all play a vital role in bone health.