• Artichoke Extract Benefits and Using Considerations
  • Artichoke, Cynara cardunculus, one of the oldest known cultivated plants, is a perennial thistle native to Ethiopia. The plant produces broad, spiked leaves and large, impressive violet-colored flowers. The buds of the flowers are commonly eaten by steaming and peeling off the outer layers. Traditional herbalists recommend artichoke leaf extract as a remedy for digestive and kidney complaints. Scientific studies have found support for some of these uses and uncovered others.

    Artichoke extract may improve your cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the February 2013 "International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition." Participants, all with mildly elevated total cholesterol levels, consumed 250 milligrams of artichoke leaf extract twice per day for 8 weeks. Results showed significant increase in high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the good form of cholesterol, and significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the bad form of cholesterol. Researchers concluded that artichoke leaf extract offers benefits for decreasing total cholesterol and improving the ratio of LDL to HDL, a value your doctor uses to gauge your risk for heart disease.

    Digestive Aid

    Heartburn relief was obtained with a combination of artichoke leaf and other plant extracts in a study published in the June 2010 "Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica." Participants with functional dyspepsia, a type of chronic indigestion, characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, bloating and stomach pain, consumed the supplement, which contained 150 milligrams of artichoke leaf extract per capsule, daily for 60 days. By the end of the 60-day study, 79 percent of participants reported a 50 percent reduction in symptoms.

    artichoke extract

    Ulcer Prevention

    Ulcer-preventive benefits of artichoke leaf extract were demonstrated in an animal study published in a 2010 issue of "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin." Doses of 500 milligrams per kilogram body weight of artichoke leaf extract increased mucous production in the stomach lining. Doses of 125 milligrams per kilogram body weight prevented a decrease in the protective layer of mucous that lines the stomach. However, artichoke leaf extract did not decrease acid production by the stomach, in this study. These preliminary results indicate that artichoke leaf extract shows potential as a natural supplement for treating gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining, a condition that can lead to the development of stomach ulcers.

    Liver Protective

    A study published in the September 2008 issue of "Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology" found that artichoke leaf extract protected the liver from damaging effects of a liver toxin. In the animal study, a group that received doses of 1.5 grams per kilogram body weight per day for 2 weeks prior to exposure to the chemical prevented liver enzymes from becoming elevated -- a sign of stress on the liver -- compared to a control group that didn't receive artichoke leaf extract. The supplement also protected lipids from oxidative damage caused by toxins and accumulated waste products. Additionally, artichoke leaf extract prevented certain antioxidant enzymes from becoming depleted.

    Considerations

    Artichoke leaf extract is generally safe and poses few adverse side effects. However, it might promote gall bladder contractions, and you should not use artichoke leaf extract if you have gallstones or a gall bladder disease, cautions New York University's Langone Medical Center. Additionally, if you are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae, or daisy, family you might develop an allergic reaction to artichoke leaf extract.

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