Artichokes can reach up to 2 meters in height. It sprouts every year after winter from its vine, if cold didn’t freeze it. It possess some deeply segmented leaves, although less divided than the ones from the thistle, and with little or no thorns. Artichokes’ leaves are light green on the front, and its back is covered by some whitish fibres that give it a pale aspect.
When the plant sprouts, a tallish, chubby but also furrowed shoot grows, with dwindling leaves, less divided the higher they are in its stalk. In its apex, and in some lateral divisions, some rosebuds appear, the artichokes. The edible portions of the buds consist primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base. When it blooms, those bracts get so hard it cannot be eaten.
After the water, the main component of the artichokes are the carbohydrates, the main ones being the insulin and the fibre. Its main minerals are sodium, potasium, phosphorus and calcium; and among the vitamins the most important are the B1, B3 and C vitamin. Even thought, the most remarkable thing from its composition are some subtances that are found in little numbers, but that possess notable positive physiological effects:
Cynarin: Acid substance capable of increasing the biliary secretion. Cynarin also reduces the alpha/beta coefficient of the lipoproteins. It also causes more expulsions of urine.
Sterols: With the capacity of limiting cholesterol absortion
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