ARTICHOKE Overview Information
Artichoke is a plant. The leaf, stem, and root are used to make “extracts” which contain a high concentration of certain chemicals found in the plant. These extracts are used as medicine.
Artichoke is used to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, and this is thought to help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and alcohol “hangover.” Artichoke is also used for high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney problems, anemia, fluid retention (edema), arthritis, bladder infections, and liver problems.
Some people use artichoke for treating snakebites, preventing gallstones, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar; to increase urine flow; and as a tonic or stimulant.
In foods, artichoke leaves and extracts are used to flavor beverages. Cynarin and chlorogenic acid, which are chemicals found in artichoke, are sometimes used as sweeteners.
Don’t confuse artichoke with Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus).
How does it work?
Artichoke has chemicals that can reduce nausea and vomiting, spasms, and intestinal gas. These chemicals have also been shown to lower cholesterol.
Possibly Effective for:
- Upset stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, gas, and stomach pain, when artichoke leaf extract is used. Improvement can take up to 2 to 8 weeks of treatment.
- High cholesterol. Taking a specific artichoke extract (Valverde Artischocke, Novartis Consumer Health) seems to modestly reduce total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and the LDL/high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio over 6 to 12 weeks of treatment.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Preventing alcohol-induced hangover.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Developing evidence suggests that artichoke extract might reduce symptoms of IBS. In one study, a specific artichoke leaf extract (Hepar-SL forte, Serturner Arzneimittel GmbH) reduced abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, gas, and constipation associated with IBS after 6 weeks of treatment. In another study, a different specific artichoke leaf extract (Cynara SL, Lichtwer Pharma) reduced the occurrence of IBS symptoms in patients with heartburn by about 26%. People taking this extract also reported improvement in their quality of life after 2 months of treatment.
- Water retention.
- Kidney problems.
- Liver problems.
- Preventing gallstones.
- High blood pressure.
- Other conditions.
ARTICHOKE Side Effects & Safety
Artichoke is safe in the amounts used in foods. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as a medicine. It has been used safely in research for up to 23 months.
In some people, artichoke can cause some side effects such as intestinal gas and allergic reactions. People at the greatest risk of allergic reactions are those who are allergic to plants such as marigolds, daisies, and other similar herbs.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of artichoke during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bile duct obstruction: There is concern that artichoke might worsen bile duct obstruction by increasing bile flow. If you have this condition, don’t use artichoke without first discussing your decision with your healthcare provider.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Artichoke may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking artichoke.
Gallstones: Artichoke might make gallstones worse by increasing bile flow; use artichoke with caution.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For heartburn: 320-640 mg artichoke leaf extract three times daily. Some studies have used a specific extract called ALE LI 220 (HeparSL forte, Berlin, Germany).
- For high cholesterol: 1800-1920 mg per day of a specific artichoke extract (Valverde Artischocke, Novartis Consumer Health) in 2 to 3 divided doses. Products containing 60-1500 mg per day of the active ingredient, cynarin, have also been used.