ARTICHOKE Overview Information
Artichoke is a plant. The leaf, stem, and root are used to make "extracts." "Extracts" contain a higher concentration of certain chemicals that are found naturally in the plant. These extracts are used as medicine..
Artichoke is used to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver. This is thought to help reduce 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, including hepatitis C.
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 and protect the liver.
Possibly Effective for:
- Indigestion. Research shows that taking artichoke extract by mouth can reduce symptoms of indigestion such as nausea, vomiting, flatulence, and stomach pain. Improvement seems to occur after 2 to 8 weeks of treatment.
- High cholesterol. Research shows that taking artichoke extract by mouth can slightly reduce total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. Improvements seem to occur after 6 to 12 weeks of treatment. Studies using cynarin, a specific chemical found in artichoke, have shown conflicting results. Drinking artichoke juice does not seem to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, artichoke juice might increase levels of blood fats called triglycerides.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Alcohol-induced hangover. Research shows that taking artichoke extract by mouth does not prevent a hangover after drinking alcohol.
- Hepatitis C. Early research shows that taking artichoke extract by mouth for 12 weeks does not improve liver health in people with hepatitis C.
- High blood pressure. Early research shows that taking concentrated artichoke juice in capsule form for 12 weeks slightly lowers blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research shows that taking artichoke extract by mouth can reduce symptoms of IBS such as stomach pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and heartburn.
- High blood pressure.
- Kidney problems.
- Liver problems.
- Preventing gallstones.
- Water retention.
- Other conditions.
ARTICHOKE Side Effects & Safety
Artichoke is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in amounts used in foods.
Artichoke is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a medicine. It has been used safely in research for up to 23 months.
In some people, artichoke can cause side effects such as gas, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Artichoke might also cause 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: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking artichoke if you are pregnant or 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 talking 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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For indigestion: 320-640 mg of artichoke leaf extract has been used three times daily for up to 8 weeks.
- For high cholesterol: 500-1920 mg of artichoke extract has been taken daily in divided doses. Also, 60 mg per day of the active ingredient, cynarin, have also been used.