As it turns out, the new-to-me tea isn't new at all. A longtime popular drink in Vietnamese culture known as trà atiso, the flavor of artichoke tea is reported to be smooth and naturally sweet. That is to say that you absolutely shouldn't expect it to taste like the drained pickled liquid from a jar of artichoke hearts.
Curious to learn more about artichoke tea, how to make it, and the benefits it offers? Below, we unpack everything to consider before adding it to your regular roster.
What is artichoke tea, actually?
Artichoke tea is exactly what it sounds like, and you can probably guess how to make it, as well. "Artichoke tea is tea made from boiling artichoke leaves in water and letting it steep," says Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, registered dietitian and owner of BZ Nutrition. "You can make your own, or buy the tea bags. While this may sound like 'new' tea, artichoke tea has long been a staple in Vietnamese culture."
So, if you're keen on DIY our artichoke brew, you can easily go online and order a few boxes. This natural artichoke tea value bag ($15) will keep you stocked for a while, or this organic artichoke tea leaf ($12) could be a good option, if you like steeping and straining your tea leaves yourself.
6 benefits of artichoke tea
1. The tea is rich in nutrients
"Artichokes are a total super food, and are loaded in nutrients like vitamins A, C, and Thiamine (B1) plus minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc," says Zeitlin. "By boiling the artichokes leaves, the water—that is, the tea—will become infused with some of the powerful nutrients and antioxidants of the artichoke."
"By boiling the artichokes leaves, the water—that is, the tea—will become infused with some of the powerful nutrients and antioxidants of the artichoke." —Brigitte Zeitlin, RD
So, think of this as a powerful way to distill the nutrients of the artichoke, then glean some of the following benefits of drinking up.
2. The tea can help boost immunity
Zeitlin points out that thanks to vitamin C and antioxidants in artichoke tea, the drink can help with strengthening your immunity. That's not to say it's a cure-all by any means (as in, don't abandon any of your other immunity-boosting habits in favor of sipping this tea), but who couldn't use a little boost like that right now?
3. Artichoke tea can help relieve stress and anxiety
Not just because of that simple act of being present and unwinding with a cup of tea, either. Zeitlin says it also has calming prosperities from its magnesium, zinc, and potassium content.
4. It might be able to lower your cholesterol levels
Emphasis on "might," because while there haven't been any direct studies on artichoke tea and cholesterol levels, there have been studies on the relationship between artichoke and cholesterol. One study pointed out that participants who consume artichoke leaf extract capsules found a decrease in cholesterol after time, which, of course, can lead to better cardiovascular health.
5. And it might be excellent for your skin
This is basically due to the high concentration of antioxidants, but research also suggests that artichoke polyphenols produce potentially anti-aging effects for your skin.
6. The tea is certainly a less messy way to get the benefits of artichokes
While you can buy artichokes in jars and throw them into your salad, they come with a particularly chewy consistency and can be sort of a...journey to digest. When my mother prepares artichoke hearts, for example, she dolls them up with breadcrumbs, oils, and seasoning because I just don't love how they taste plain. The tea cuts out the middle man of extra trimmings.
"If eating artichokes aren’t your thing, then drinking their tea can be a great way to reap these benefits," Zeitlin says. "It can also help reach your hydration goals for the day."
Are there any side affects of artichoke tea?
In general, drinking this herbal tea is pretty harmless, but you should keep in mind that you do lose certain values artichokes can offer you by not eating the full vegetable.
"There are no clinical side effects yet distinguished from drinking artichoke tea, but there is also very little research specifically on artichoke tea," says Zeitlin. "One huge health booster of artichokes, though, is the amount of fiber they have in them, which you do not get from drinking the tea. You only get it from chewing—read: eating!—the vegetable. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol, promote motility, ward off bloat and gas, and help maintain an overall healthy digestive system. So drink the tea, but also, eat the whole ‘choke."
And if you're me, that means you'll need a lot of breadcrumbs, oil, and seasonings at the ready.
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