Artichoke

The Unknown Spiky Vegetable

Cynara scolymus, derives from the Latin canina meaning canine and the Greek skolymos meaning thistle. Native to the Mediterranean region, the artichoke is the edible flower bud of a thistle-like plant in the sunflower family. Don’t let its thorny leaves discourage you; a treasure lies in its heart.

History

Although artichokes have been eaten for more than 3000 years, the fall of Rome plunged the artichoke into obscurity in the medieval time until its revival in Italy at the Renaissance. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered artichokes to be a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. In Ancient Greece, the artichoke was attributed to being effective in securing the birth of boys.

Availability

California produces 100 percent of the U.S. commercial artichoke crop, rivaled in popularity only in France and Italy. They are available twelve months a year with the peak season in the spring and fall.

Latest cancer research

There are over 200 scientific articles on artichoke or one of its phytochemical. Researchers at the University of Georg-August in Germany showed that one of its phytochemical interfered with estrogen receptor which promoted the secretion of PSA in prostate cancer. Furthermore, this functional food possesses the ability to inhibit the angiogenesis related to cancer. Other studies demonstrated anti-proliferation and apoptotic proprieties and also inhibit inflammation.

Types of cancers affected

1. Prostate cancer
2. Breast cancer
3. Liver cancer
4. Skin cancer
5. Cervical cancer
6. Leukemia
7. Ovarian cancer
8. Lung cancer
9. Bladder cancer

Posology

1 medium bud/day

Cancer Protection Level

Apoptosis
Angiogenesis
Inflammation
Proliferation

Bonus: Estrogen interference

Reference

1. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(2):276-83. Antioxidative and apoptotic properties of polyphenolic extracts from edible part of artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) on cultured rat hepatocytes and on human hepatoma cells. Miccadei S, Di Venere D, Cardinali A, Romano F, Durazzo A, Foddai MS, Fraioli R, Mobarhan S, Maiani G.
2. Phytother Res. 2008 Feb;22(2):165-8. Growth inhibitory effect of ethyl acetate-soluble fraction of Cynara cardunculus L. in leukemia cells involves cell cycle arrest, cytochrome c release and activation of caspases. Nadova S, Miadokova E, Mucaji P, Grancai D, Cipak L.
3. Mol Carcinog. 1999;26:321-333. Significant inhibition by the flavonoid antioxidant silymarin against 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate-caused modulation of antioxidant and inflammatory enzymes, and cyclooxygenase 2 and interleukin-1alpha expression in SENCAR mouse epidermis: implications in the prevention of stage I tumor promotion. Zhao J, Sharma Y, Agarwal R.
4. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000;276:371-378.Anti-angiogenic potential of a cancer chemopreventive flavonoid antioxidant, silymarin: inhibition of key attributes of vascular endothelial cells and angiogenic cytokine secretion by cancer epithelial cells. Jiang C, Agarwal R, Lu J.