Why the Artichoke?
The Globe Artichoke is one of my favourite vegetables. It is revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and was also in Medieval, Ancient Greek and Roman times as a highly nutritious vegetable with its antioxidant value, Qi or energy providing nourishment and medicinal-like qualities especially for the liver.
In Chinese medicine it is known for its ability to tonify the Qi and blood. It also helps to regulate Qi circulation, clear heat, resolve dampness, and regulate water circulation.
In modern day Western nutrition it is recognized as part of the thistle family, and a wonderful source of dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, and silymarin which is beneficial to liver health, boosting liver function by stimulating cell regeneration and clearing free radicals from the system.
Artichoke leaf tea or extract has been shown to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and upset stomachs.
Artichokes contain more antioxidants than dark chocolate, blueberries or cranberries and they are higher in dietary fiber than beans, peas, or oats.
In terms of symbolism Artichokes are a very sturdy vegetable that have a tender heart at their core which is protected by thick strong layers of leaves, much like the human heart which we protect at all costs both physically & emotionally.
Through our experience of life we build layers to stay safe in ourselves, and through inner work & healing we slowly open one layer at a time when we allow ourselves connection with other people and new experiences.
Each layer is connected and related to the next leaf and the leaf before it, just like our human life in which each moment is connected to the totality or whole of us, and the whole of the macrocosm.
From an alchemical perspective, Artichokes encourage personal growth and protect a person from negative elemental energies. They represent hope, peace and prosperity for us.
The leaves of the artichoke can be seen as a representation of the crown chakra and can be interpreted as the opening of the crown chakra through grace and flexibility, but slowly and delicately taking our time. With each leaf, there is a unique individual lesson, and each part or leaf of life has a different chapter for us to expand our awareness & consciousness. We can begin to see & experience the world with new eyes, mind & body.
The spiritual path takes time, there are many layers to pull back before the true tender heart can be accessed. Once the heart is accessed we become light and no longer need layers. It is also likened to the symbolism of “emptying” the ego, clutter and layers we no longer need, moving from hard to soft and roughness to tenderness and simplicity.
The delicate flower and tough many-leaved exterior symbolize the Artichoke's ability to break through hardened rigid patterns which close the crown chakra, or that you have choice to open it with grace and flexibility.
It is the logo of Qi Food Therapy for all these beautiful reasons, and it is our passion to share how food, the 5 Elements, emotions and energy medicine can help us all maintain & achieve more harmony in our inner and outer worlds.