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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Cynara cardunculus | Cardoon, Wild artichoke

Botanical Overview of Cardoon

  • Scientific Name: Cynara cardunculus

  • Common Names: Cardoon, Artichoke Thistle, Wild Artichoke

  • Family: Asteraceae

  • Description: A robust, perennial plant with deeply lobed, spiny leaves and large, thistle-like purple flowers. It grows up to 1.5 to 2 meters tall and has a thick, fleshy stalk.


cynara cardunculus botanical illustration

Properties of Cardoon

  • Chemical Constituents: Cynarin, inulin, sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.

  • Edibility: The fleshy stalks and immature flower buds are edible and often used in Mediterranean cuisine.


Distribution and Habitat of Cardoon

  • Native Range: Mediterranean region.

  • Preferred Habitat: Prefers well-drained, fertile soils and full sun. Often found in fields, along roadsides, and in cultivated gardens.


Medicinal Properties and Uses of Cardoon

  • Traditional Uses: Known for its digestive and liver-supporting properties. Traditionally used to treat liver disorders, improve bile flow, and support digestion.

  • Modern Applications: Employed in herbal medicine to support liver health, lower cholesterol, and manage blood sugar levels. The high inulin content makes it beneficial for gut health and as a prebiotic.


Magical Correspondences and Uses of Cardoon in Magical Practice

  • Element: Fire

  • Planet: Mars, Jupiter

  • Magical Properties: Protection, strength, and vitality.

  • Uses: Cardoon is used in magical practices for protection and to enhance strength and vitality. It can be included in protective charms and amulets or used in spells to bolster personal power and resilience. The spiny nature of the plant lends itself to defensive magic, creating barriers against negative influences.


Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Cardoon

  • Historical Context: Cardoon has been cultivated since ancient times, both for its culinary and medicinal uses. It was prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

  • Folklore: In Mediterranean folklore, cardoon was believed to ward off evil spirits and protect against misfortune. It was often planted around homes and gardens for its protective qualities.

  • Mythology: Associated with Mars due to its robust and spiny nature, cardoon symbolizes strength and protection. It was sometimes used in rituals to invoke the god's favor and enhance personal courage and resilience.


Historical Literary Sources

  • Pliny the Elder's "Natural History": Describes the cultivation and uses of cardoon in ancient Rome.

  • Dioscorides' "De Materia Medica": Mentions the medicinal properties of cardoon, particularly its benefits for liver health.

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