Artichoke Leaf Extract benefit, cholesterol and liver protection, gastric protection
Dosage and review of studies
February 15 2017

Artichoke leaf extract is widely used alone or in association with other herbs that have an effect on cholesterol levels. It appears that this supplement has many health benefits, including the ability to lower cholesterol levels and protect liver cells from damage.

Availability as a supplement, dosage
This product is sold by a number of vitamin companies, here is one example of what a product contains.

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Artichoke leaf extract 500mg, 60 capsules

Artichoke Extract (Cynara scolymus) (leaf) (5% total caffeoylquinic acids) 500 mg
You can purchase this product and other top quality dietary pills. 

Artichoke leaf extract benefits

Antioxidant benefit
Many of the flavonoids in this vegetable leaf provide excellent antioxidant protection. Cooking artichoke leaves releases some of these antioxidants. There are a number of excellent antioxidant supplements including acetyl carnitine, acetycysteine, and Carnosine, along with various herbs, fruits (such as amla) and berries (such as goji berry) that have free radical prevention activity.

The effect of artichoke (Cynara scolymus) extract on ROS generation in HUVEC cells.
Phytother Res. 2008.
The effect of an artichoke extract on induced reactive oxygen species generation in cultured human umbilical endothelial cells (HUVECs) and its reductive properties were evaluated. Preincubation with the artichoke extract at concentrations abolished reactive oxygen species generation. Potent, concentration-dependent reductive properties of the artichoke extract were demonstrated. The results of the present study the warrant application of artichoke extracts as endothelium (cells lining blood vessels) protecting agents.

Artichoke extract protects liver cells from oxidative stress. It also has apoptotic (ability to kill cancer cells) activity on a human liver cancer cell line.

Lowering cholesterol
Artichoke extracts have been shown to produce various pharmacological effects, such as the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis and of LDL oxidation. It appears that this supplement could be useful in lowering cholesterol levels.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013. Artichoke leaf extract for treating hypercholesterolaemia. Institute of Health Services Research, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK.  We updated searches of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library); MEDLINE Ovid; EMBASE Ovid; and CINAHL Ebsco. We checked reference lists of articles, and contacted manufacturers of preparations containing artichoke extract, and experts on the subject. There is an indication that artichoke leaf extract has potential in lowering cholesterol levels, but the evidence is, as yet, not convincing. The limited data on safety suggest only mild, transient and infrequent adverse events with the short term use of artichoke leaf extract.

Effect of Artichoke Leaf Extract on Hepatic and Cardiac Oxidative Stress in Rats Fed on High Cholesterol Diet.
Biol Trace Elem Res. 2009. Küçükgergin C, Aydın AF, Ozdemirler-Erata G, Koçak-Toker N. Department of Biochemistry, Istanbul Medical Faculty, Istanbul University, Capa, Istanbul, Turkey.
High cholesterol and lipid peroxidation play complementary roles in atherosclerosis. Artichoke leaf extract, rich in antioxidants, has cholesterol-reducing effect. We investigated the effect of Cynara scolymus extract on serum and hepatic lipid levels and pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance in the liver and heart of rats with high cholesterol levels. Rats were fed on 4% (w/w) cholesterol and 1% cholic acid supplemented diet for 1 month. artichoke leaf extract (1.5 g/kg/day) was given during the last 2 weeks. High cholesterol (HC) diet caused significant increases in serum and liver cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Hepatic vitamin E levels and hepatic and cardiac glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities decreased, but superoxide dismutase and glutathione transferase activities, glutathione, and vitamin C levels remained unchanged due to HC diet. Our results indicate that artichoke leaf extract decreases serum lipids and high cholesterol-induced pro-oxidant state in both tissues.

The influence of supplementation with artichoke extract on selected redox parameters in rowers.
Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008; Skarpanska-Stejnborn A, Pilaczynska-Szczesniak L, Deskur-Smielcka E, Horoszkiewicz-Hassan M. Dept. of Water Sports, University School of Physical Education in Poznan, Gorzów Wlkp, Poland.
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of supplementation with artichoke leaf extract on parameters describing balance between oxidants and antioxidants in competitive rowers. This double-blinded study was carried out in 22 members of the Polish rowing team who were randomly assigned to a supplemented group receiving 1 gelatin capsule containing 400 mg of artichoke-leaf extract 3 times a day for 5 wk, or a placebo group. At the beginning and end of the study participants performed a 2,000-m maximal test on a rowing ergometer. During restitution, plasma total antioxidant capacity was significantly higher in the supplemented group than in the placebo group. Serum total cholesterol levels at the end of the study were significantly lower in the supplemented group than in the placebo group. Consuming artichoke-leaf extract resulted in higher plasma total antioxidant capacity than placebo but did not limit oxidative damage to erythrocytes in competitive rowers subjected to strenuous training.

Artichoke leaf extract reduces plasma cholesterol in otherwise healthy hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized, double blind placebo controlled trial.
Phytomedicine. 2008; Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Simpson HC. Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, School of Chemistry, Food Biosciences & Pharmacy, The University of Reading, Reading, UK.
Artichoke leaf extracts have been reported to reduce plasma lipids levels, including total cholesterol. The objective of this trial was to assess the effect of Artichoke leaf extracts on plasma lipid levels and general well-being in otherwise healthy adults with mild to moderate high cholesterol levels. Volunteers consumed 1280 mg of a standardised Artichoke leaf extracts, or matched placebo, daily for 12 weeks. Plasma total cholesterol decreased in the treatment group by an average of 4% and increased in the control group by an average of 2%. No significant differences between groups were observed for LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Artichoke leaf extracts consumption resulted in a modest but favorable statistically significant difference in total cholesterol after 12 weeks. In comparison with a previous trial, it is suggested that the apparent positive health status of the study population may have contributed to the modesty of the observed response.

Effects of artichoke leaf extract on acute gastric mucosal injury in rats.
Biol Pharm Bull. 2010; Ishida K, Kojima R, Tsuboi M,. Laboratory of Analytical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Environmental and Human Sciences, Meijo University, Tenpaku-ku, Nagoya, Japan.
The present study was designed to clarify the effects of an ethanol extract of artichoke leaf on acute gastric mucosal injury in rats. Oral administration of artichoke leaf extract dose-dependently prevented absolute ethanol-induced or restraint plus water immersion stress-induced gastric mucosal injury (1000-2000 mg/kg). The artichoke leaf extract contains 1% cynaropicrin and 0.8% chlorogenic acid as main components. Our results indicate that artichoke leaf extract is effective against acute gastritis and its beneficial effect is due to that of cynaropicrin. The gastric mucus-increasing action of artichoke leaf extract may be, at least in part, related to the anti-gastritic action of the extract.

Liver protection
Leaf extracts from globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) have been widely used in medicine for protecting the liver and as an herb to stimulate bile release. Pretreatment of rats with artichoke extract prevents carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury.

Side effects, safety
We are not yet aware of artichoke extract side effects that have been mentioned in medical studies.

Artichoke cooking maintains and enhances nutritional value
Effects of different cooking methods on antioxidant profile, antioxidant capacity, and physical characteristics of artichoke.
J Agric Food Chem. 2008. Department of Food Science, University of Napoli Federico II, Parco Gussone, Napoli, Italy.
In this study, the effects of three common cooking practices i.e., boiling, steaming, and frying on the artichoke phenolic compounds pattern were evaluated. The variation of carotenoids, antioxidant capacity, and artichoke physical properties after cooking was also investigated. The major phenolic compounds present in the raw sample was O-caffeoylquinic acids; after cooking treatments, an increase of the overall caffeoylquinic acids concentration due to the formation of different dicaffeoylquinic acid isomers was observed. Steamed and fried samples showed similar patterns of dicaffeoylquinic concentrations, which were higher with respect to the boiled samples. On the other hand, all cooking practices, particularly frying, decreased flavonoid concentration. The antioxidant capacity of cooked artichokes enormously increased after cooking, particularly after steaming (up to 15-fold) and boiling (up to 8-fold). The observed cooking effect on the artichoke antioxidant profile is probably due to matrix softening and increased extractability of compounds. These results suggest that some common cooking treatments can be used to enhance the nutritional value of vegetables, increasing bio-accessibility of health-promoting constituents.

Composition, what’s in it?
Globe artichoke leaves are a natural source of phenolic acids with caffeoylquinic acid, dicaffeoylquinic acid, cynarin (1,3-dicaffeoylquinic acid), along with its biosynthetic precursor chlorogenic acid (5-caffeoylquinic acid). Cynaropicrin and chlorogenic acid are also present.

Toxicity testing
J Food Sci. 2013. In vivo genotoxicity evaluation of an artichoke (Cynara scolymus) aqueous extract. Laboratory of Toxicological Genetics, Lutheran Univ. of Brazil (ULBRA), Canoas, RS, Brazil. Artichoke is widely consumed as tea or food and shows important therapeutic properties. However, few studies have assessed the possible toxic effects of artichoke extracts. This study evaluates genotoxic and mutagenic activities of artichoke leaf aqueous extract in mice using the comet assay and the micronucleus test. The present study revealed leaf aqueous extract from artichoke shows lack of mutagenicity, and low genotoxicity and antioxidant activity; indicating that artichoke tea should be consumed with moderation.

Email testimonials
I ordered the Artichoke Leaf Extract for IBS…it’s not bad….have to try it for a while to see how it works. I am ordering the Probiotics (my GI doctor said Lactobacillus bifidum is the only one that works for IBS).

Lead toxicity
Pharm Biol. 2013. Protective effect of artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaf extract against lead toxicity in rat.