What is Artichoke?
The Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus) is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. The artichoke is native to southern Europe and northern Africa. French and Spanish settlers brought the vegetable to Louisiana and California in the early 19th century. Almost all the artichokes grown in the United States come from California. Ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a digestive aid. Artichoke flowers and leaves possess a number of health benefits. Artichoke leaf extract can be taken to reduce cholesterol, support liver function and as a natural treatment for digestive problems.
How Does it Work?
Artichoke leaf extract contains various active compounds like chlorogenic acid, cynarin, and caffeic acid. Artichoke leaf extract inhibits HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. The inhibition of this enzyme suppresses the synthesis of cholesterol by the liver. Many prescription cholesterol medications also work in the similar way. Artichoke extract can improve the functioning of major organs such as the liver. Artichokes are a good source of vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, vitamin A, folic acid, magnesium, chromium and other trace minerals.
Liver and Gastrointestinal System
Use of artichoke extract enhances the production of bile, a yellowish-brown fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Many of the substances in the bile play a significant role in the digestion of fats and protect the intestines from acids. Bile also helps the liver to remove toxins from the body. An increase in bile also helps in better absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, E and K. Artichoke Extract helps with a wide range of gastrointestinal problems ranging from vomiting, flatulence, heartburn, stomach pain to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Artichoke for Cardiovascular Sytem
Artichoke extract can reduce levels of LDL (low density lipids or the bad lipids) cholesterol in the blood, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. It also prevents the liver from producing too much cholesterol. Artichoke extract can also break down cholesterol, and increased bile production further helps to remove it from the system.
Other Health Benefits
One of the favorable benefits for many is the ability of
artichoke extract to aid with weight loss. Enhanced bile secretion in the liver
and increased the excretion of
cholesterol also help to lose weight. Artichoke extracts have been used as a
cure for alcohol-induced hangovers.
Safety and Interactions
Artichoke leaf extract is generally very safe for most of the people. Almost no side effects are associated with this herbal medicine. It has been used safely in many research studies for up to 23 months. Some people may develop minor side effects such as nausea, intestinal gas and allergic reactions. People who are allergic to arnica, daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds and other similar herbs may also be allergic to artichoke leaf extract. Artichoke might worsen bile duct obstruction by increasing bile flow. If you have this condition don't use artichoke extract without discussing with your healthcare provider. It is unknown if the artichoke leaf extract is safe or beneficial for use in children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
The study was conducted to evaluate the effect of artichoke extract on the lipid pattern. It was performed in 92 overweight subjects with mild hypercholesterolaemia for 8 weeks. The study noted a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and a significant decrease in the total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol. Thus, we can conclude that the supplementation with artichoke extract could play a beneficial role in increasing HDL cholesterol, and decreasing total and LDL cholesterol.
The study evaluated the efficacy of a new dietary supplement which has policosanol, red yeast rice and artichoke extract against hypercholesterolemia. The study was conducted on 39 subjects from 21 to 55 years of age for about 16 weeks. A significant decrease in the LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol was noted in the study group when compared with the control.
extracts have been reported to reduce plasma lipid levels, including total cholesterol in many studies. The present study was conducted on 131 individuals with total plasma cholesterol in the range of 6.0-8.0. The results of the study showed a favorable significant decrease in total cholesterol after 12 weeks.
The study was conducted to investigate the efficacy of artichoke extracts on the amelioration of dyspeptic symptoms and improvement of quality of life on 454 participants. There was a significant reduction of all dyspeptic symptoms, with an average reduction of 40% in the global dyspepsia score. So, artichoke extract is a good candidate in the amelioration of upper gastrointestinal symptoms in the healthy subjects suffering from dyspepsia.
Artichoke extracts have shown antioxidant activities in various biochemical studies. Many constituents of artichoke particularly cynarin, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and luteolin showed a concentration-dependent inhibitory activity against reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is reported to affect 22% of the general population. Artichoke extracts have shown evidence to be effective against IBS. The present study reported that 96% of patients rated artichoke extract as better than or at least equal to previous therapies and the tolerability of the extract as very well.
The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy of extract in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia. A 247 patients with functional dyspepsia were selected for the study. A significant improvement in the overall symptoms and quality and life was noted, indicating artichoke extract as a good herbal remedy.
Tags: Artichoke Extract