no text alternative


License information

You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions


Cynara cardunculus L. Asteraceae. Cardoon, Globe Artichoke, Artechokes, Scolymos cinara, Cynara, Cinara. Distribution: Southern Europe and North Africa. Lyte (1576) writes that Dodoens (1552) could find no medical use for them and Galen (c.200 AD) said they were indigestible unless cooked. However he relates that other authors recommend that if the flower heads are soaked in strong wine, they 'provoke urine and stir up lust in the body.' More prosaically, the roots boiled in wine and drunk it cause the urine to be 'stinking' and so cures smelly armpits. He adds that it strengthens the stomach so causing women to conceive Male children. He goes on to say that the young shoots boiled in broth also stir up lust in men and women, and more besides. Lyte (1576) was translating, I think with elaborations, from the chapter on Scolymos cinara, Artichaut, in Dodoen's Croydeboeck (1552) as L'Ecluse's French translation (1575) does not mention these latter uses, but Dodoen's own Latin translation, the Pemptades(1583), and Gerard's (1633) both do so. It is useful in understanding the history of these translations to realise that Gerard uses, almost verbatim, the translation of the 'smelly armpit' paragraph from Lyte. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.. Credit: Dr Henry Oakeley. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)