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March 18, 2017
Author: Lily Mazzarella
The artichoke is a perfect spring food—they are in season and perfectly suited to our purposes of liver and gall bladder support. Artichoke leaf (botanically speaking, we eat the bract, which subtends the gorgeous, spiky, periwinkle flowers) is a classic herbal medicine for the hepatobiliary system; compounds found throughout the plant help repair and prevent damage to the liver, while the bitter flavor gets the gall bladder moving.
Research shows myriad benefits for diverse conditions including: upper digestive distress, IBS, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), and damage to liver and kidney cells. The artichoke is the base for classic aperitifs in Italy and France (think Campari and Cynar). As my herb teacher, the great British phytotherapist Simon Mills put it, artichoke is the ultimate antidote to the "Lyonnaise lunch"—aioli with your brie, potatoes, paté, and a bottle of red wine. They are also beautiful, and a pleasure to eat. The artichoke demands you move slowly: how else can you rake your teeth over each delectable leaf, and avoid its thorny tips? There are many ways to prepare an artichoke, but this recipe yields one of my favorite detox supports: Artichoke Water.
1 large globe artichoke, rinsed, with sharpest tips trimmed
1 tbsp of mixed dried herbs, including: fennel seed, mint, thyme, black pepper + 1 bay leaf
Extra virgin organic olive oil
¼-½ tsp Himalayan pink salt or high quality sea salt
Place the artichoke in a sauce pan, and fill with water until the artichoke is half-submerged.
Add the herbs + salt to the surrounding water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
Turn the artichoke to a different side every 10 minutes or so, depending upon its size.
Artichoke is ready when outer leaves pull off without too much of a fight.
Turn off the heat, and remove the artichoke from water with tongs, squeezing excess water into the pan.
Allow the artichoke to cool for a few moments, and savor each leaf dipped in olive oil whisked with a little salt (sometimes I add curry powder to the olive oil—yum!).
For Artichoke Water: simply reserve the cooking water from above in a mason jar, and drink a few ounces every day of your cleanse! Artichoke water is otherworldly delicious, bitter and sweet, and fully artichoke-y.
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