Thursday, October 28, 2010

Health Benefits of Jerusalem Artichoke

Today I found myself outside in 40 degree weather pulling Jerusalem Artichoke tubers out of the ground. As I was in the midst of pulling, small raindrops started coming down, making it almost hard to bear! At that point, I had to remind myself why I was pulling these in the first place.

This amazing plant is one of the oldest medicinal plants used as a natural remedy, dating back to fourth century B.C., and was used to treat liver disorders and jaundice. Jerusalem Artichoke actually comes from the Sunflower family and has many nicknames, including Sunroot, Earth Apple, and Sunchoke. It grows up to ten feet tall and appears very similar to a sunflower stalk. When you pull these in the fall, you will see the roots and tubers as white, red or purple. They resemble a potato, and are extremely tasty! 

Jerusalem Artichoke can be cut up and eaten raw on salads, can be steamed or boiled, or added to soups or stews. These tasty tubers contain many different vitamins and minerals, including:
Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, and many more! The leaf provides many more nutrients and added benefits as well, and is even said to be more medicinal and potent than the tubers. As you can see, both are packed with nutrients and provide a great food for the entrance into the winter season.

There are also many different benefits that this food brings, including:

  • Regulates energy usage
  • Supports healthy heart function
  • Supports and nourishes the muscular system
  • Supports nervous system
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Lowers chances of infections
  • Supports healthy hair and nails 
  • Decreases the risk of depression
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps with liver function (extremely good for the liver)
  • Significantly lowers LDL (AKA bad) cholesterol
Jerusalem Artichoke offers a great list of benefits, and is especially good for the liver and cardiovascular system (especially the tincture of the leaf).

I love to eat any root vegetable during the early winter months, and all throughout the winter too. They are not only beneficial foods, but they also provide warmth for these very cold months to come!


Svea is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. 

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