Scientific Name/Common Name: Cynara scolymus / (Globe) artichoke
Part(s) Used: Leaf and buds
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Artichoke leaf contains: 0-4% bitter compounds of the sesquiterpene lactone type including cynaropicrin; up to 2% phenolic acids, mainly 3-caffeoylquinic acid (chlorogenic acid) and 1,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid (cynarin); caffeic acid; 0.1-1.0% flavonoids including scolymoside and luteolin glucosides; phytosterols including taraxasterol; sugars; inulin; enzymes; and a volatile oil consisting mainly of the sesquiterpenes beta-selinene and caryophyllene.
Overview: Artichoke has been used traditionally as a food and medicine since early Greco-Roman times. In ancient Rome, artichoke leaf was employed as a diuretic and digestive herb. The German Pharmacopoeia lists artichoke leaf for treating gastrointestinal complaints stemming from bile deficiency, as well as to stimulate appetite and diuresis. German authorities recognize that 'bitters' stimulate bile flow, increase bile solubility, and cleanse the liver of fatty deposits. The results of several clinical investigations also showed the efficacy and safety of artichoke extracts in the treatment of hepato-biliary dysfunction and digestive complaints, such as sensation of fullness, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: As a bitter to stimulate digestion and bile production (choleretic and cholagogue); as a diuretic for cleansing; to relieve indigestion; to help lower cholesterol levels.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000. Pp. 10-12. Mills S, Bone K. 2005. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis (MO): Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. Rondanelli M, et al.. Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL-cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolaemia: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 Feb;64(1):7-15.
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