Alcachofa, Alcaucil, ALE, Artichaut, Artichaut Commun, Artichoke Extract, Artichoke Fruit, Artichoke Leaf, Artichoke Leaf Extract, Artischocke, Cardo, Cardo de Comer, Cardon d'Espagne, Cardoon, Cynara, Cynara cardunculus, Cynara scolymus, Garden Artichoke, Gemuseartischocke, Globe Artichoke, Kardone, Tyosen-Azami.
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...
- Indigestion. Artichoke leaf extract seems to reduce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, flatulence, and stomach pain in people with indigestion. Improvement seems to occur after 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 or “bad”) cholesterol, and the LDL/high density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) ratio after 6 to 12 weeks of treatment. Studies using cynarin, a specific chemical found in artichoke, have shown conflicting results. Drinking frozen artichoke juice does not seem to lower cholesterol levels and may increase levels of blood fats called triglycerides.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Alcohol-induced hangover. Some evidence shows that taking an artichoke extract does not prevent a hangover after drinking alcohol.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Disorders affecting bile flow in the liver. Early research suggests that a specific artichoke leaf product (Cynarix) improves the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Early research 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.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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 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.
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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Adam G and Kluthe R. Cholesterinsenkender Effect von Cynarin. Therapiewoche 1979;29:5673-5640.
Adzet T. Action of an artichoke extract against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Acts Pharm Jugosl 1987;37:183-188.
Betancor-Fernandez, A., Perez-Galvez, A., Sies, H., and Stahl, W. Screening pharmaceutical preparations containing extracts of turmeric rhizome, artichoke leaf, devil's claw root and garlic or salmon oil for antioxidant capacity. J Pharm Pharmacol 2003;55(7):981-986. View abstract.
Camarasa J, Laguna JC, and Gaspar A. Biochemical and histological pattern of cyanarin and caffeic acid treatment in CCl4-induced hepatoxicity. Med Sci Res 1987;15:91-92.
Cima, G. and Bonora, R. [Therapeutic effects of 1,4-dicaffeylquinic acid (cinarine) after oral, rectal, intravenous and intraduodenal administration.]. Minerva Med 7-11-1959;50:2288-2291. View abstract.
Dorn, M. Improvement in raised lipid levels with artichoke juice (Cynara scolymus L.). British J Phytother 1995;4(1):21-26.
Farrell, J., Campbell, E., and Walshe, J. J. Renal failure associated with alternative medical therapies. Ren Fail. 1995;17(6):759-764. View abstract.
Fintelmann V. Antidyspeptic and lipid-lowering effects of artichoke leaf extract - results of clinical studies into the efficacy and tolerance of Hepar-SL forte involving 553 patients. J Gen Med 1996;2:3-19.
Fintelmann V. Therapeutic profile and mechanism of action of artichoke leaf extract: hypolipemic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective and choleretic properties. Phytomedicine 1996;suppl 1:50.
Franck, P., Moneret-Vautrin, D. A., Morisset, M., Kanny, G., Megret-Gabeaux, M. L., and Olivier, J. L. Anaphylactic reaction to inulin: first identification of specific IgEs to an inulin protein compound. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2005;136(2):155-158. View abstract.
Gebhardt R and Fausel M. Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of artichoke extracts and constituents in cultured rat hepatocytes. Toxicol in Vitro 1997;11:669-672.
Hammerl, H. and Pichler, O. [Possibility of causal treatment of bile duct diseases with an artichoke preparation.]. Wien.Med Wochenschr. 6-29-1957;107(25-26):545-546. View abstract.
Hammerl, H., Kindler, K., Kranzl, C., Nebosis, G., Pichler, O., and Studlar, M. [Effect of Cynarin on hyperlipidemia with special reference to type II (hypercholesterinemia)]. Wien Med Wochenschr 10-13-1973;123(41):601-605. View abstract.
Held C. Von der 1. Deutsche-Ungarischen Phytopharmakon-Konferenz, Budapest, 20. November 1991. Z Klin Med 1992;47:92-93.
Jimenez-Escrig, A., Dragsted, L. O., Daneshvar, B., Pulido, R., and Saura-Calixto, F. In vitro antioxidant activities of edible artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) and effect on biomarkers of antioxidants in rats. J Agric.Food Chem. 8-27-2003;51(18):5540-5545. View abstract.
Kirchhoff R, Beckers CH, Kirchhoff GM, and et al. Increase in choleresis by means of artichoke extract. Phytomedicine 1994;1:107-115.
Kiso, Y., Tohkin, M., and Hikino, H. Antihepatotoxic principles of Atractylodes rhizomes. J Nat.Prod. 1983;46(5):651-654. View abstract.
Kiso, Y., Tohkin, M., and Hikino, H. Assay method for antihepatotoxic activity using carbon tetrachloride induced cytotoxicity in primary cultured hepatocytes. Planta Med 1983;49(4):222-225. View abstract.
Kraft K. Artichoke leaf extract - Recent findings reflecting effects on lipid metabolism, liver and gastrointestinal tracts. Phytomedicine 1997;4(4):369-378.
Kupke D, Sanden HV, Trinczek-Gartner H, and et al. Prüfung der choleretischen Aktivitat eines pflanzlichen Cholagogums. Z Allg Med 1991;67:1046-1058.
Li, H., Xia, N., Brausch, I., Yao, Y., and Forstermann, U. Flavonoids from artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) up-regulate endothelial-type nitric-oxide synthase gene expression in human endothelial cells. J Pharmacol.Exp.Ther. 2004;310(3):926-932. View abstract.
Lietti A. Choleretic and cholesterol lowering properties of artichoke extracts. Fitoterapia 1977;48:153-158.
Llorach, R., Espin, J. C., Tomas-Barberan, F. A., and Ferreres, F. Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) byproducts as a potential source of health-promoting antioxidant phenolics. J Agric.Food Chem. 6-5-2002;50(12):3458-3464. View abstract.
Lopez-Molina, D., Navarro-Martinez, M. D., Rojas-Melgarejo, F., Hiner, A. N., Chazarra, S., and Rodriguez-Lopez, J. N. Molecular properties and prebiotic effect of inulin obtained from artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.). Phytochemistry 2005;66(12):1476-1484. View abstract.
Lupattelli, G., Marchesi, S., Lombardini, R., Roscini, A. R., Trinca, F., Gemelli, F., Vaudo, G., and Mannarino, E. Artichoke juice improves endothelial function in hyperlipemia. Life Sci 12-31-2004;76(7):775-782. View abstract.
Mancini, M., Oriente, P., and D'Andrea, L. [Therapeutic use of 1,4-dicaffeylquinic acid, active principle of the artichoke. Its regulatory action on blood cholesterol and on blood lipoproteins in human atherosclerotic disease.]. Minerva Med 7-11-1960;51:2460-2463. View abstract.
Matuschowski P. Testing of
Meding, B. Allergic contact dermatitis from artichoke, Cynara scolymus. Contact Dermatitis 1983;9(4):314. View abstract.
Miralles, J. C., Garcia-Sells, J., Bartolome, B., and Negro, J. M. Occupational rhinitis and bronchial asthma due to artichoke (Cynara scolymus). Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003;91(1):92-95. View abstract.
Quirce, S., Tabar, A. I., Olaguibel, J. M., and Cuevas, M. Occupational contact urticaria syndrome caused by globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus). J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1996;97(2):710-711. View abstract.
Romano, C., Ferrara, A., and Falagiani, P. A case of allergy to globe artichoke and other clinical cases of rare food allergy. J Investig.Allergol.Clin Immunol. 2000;10(2):102-104. View abstract.
Samochowiec L. Artichoke. Diss Pharm 1959;11:99-112.
Samochowiec L. The action of herbs and roots of artichokes (Cynara scolymnus) and cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) on the development of experimental atherosclerosis in white rats. Diss Pharm 1962;14:115.
Samochowiec L. The effect of artichokes (Cynara scolymus L.) and cardoons (Cynara cardunculus L.) on developed atherosclerotic changes in white rats. Fol Biol 1962;10:75-83.
Schreiber VJ, Erb W, Wildgrube J, and Bohle E. Die fakale ausscheidung von gallensauren und lipiden des menschen bei normaler und medikamentos gesteigerter cholerese. Z Gastroenterologie 1970;8:230-239.
Struppler A and Rössler H. Über die choleretische Wirkung des Artischockenextraktes. Med.Mschr 1957;11(4):221-223.
Valerio, F., De Bellis, P., Lonigro, S. L., Morelli, L., Visconti, A., and Lavermicocca, P. In vitro and in vivo survival and transit tolerance of potentially probiotic strains carried by artichokes in the gastrointestinal tract. Appl Environ.Microbiol. 2006;72(4):3042-3045. View abstract.
Violon, C. Belgian (Chinese herb) nephropathy: why? J Pharm Belg. 1997;52(1):7-27. View abstract.
Visioli, F., Bogani, P., Grande, S., Detopoulou, V., Manios, Y., and Galli, C. Local food and cardioprotection: the role of phytochemicals. Forum Nutr 2006;59:116-129. View abstract.
von Weiland HH, Kindler K, Kranzl Ch, et al. Uber den Einfluss von Cynarin auf Hyperlipidamien unter besonderer Berucksichtigung des Typs II (Hypercholesterinamie). Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 1973;41:601-605.
Wang, M., Simon, J. E., Aviles, I. F., He, K., Zheng, Q. Y., and Tadmor, Y. Analysis of antioxidative phenolic compounds in artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.). J Agric.Food Chem. 1-29-2003;51(3):601-608. View abstract.
Wegener T. [About the therapeutic activity of the artichoke]. Pflanzliche Gallentherapeutika 1995;16:81.
Wittemer, S. M., Ploch, M., Windeck, T., Muller, S. C., Drewelow, B., Derendorf, H., and Veit, M. Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of caffeoylquinic acids and flavonoids after oral administration of Artichoke leaf extracts in humans. Phytomedicine. 2005;12(1-2):28-38. View abstract.
Wojcicki, J. Effect of 1,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid on ethanol-induced hypertriglyceridemia. Short communication. Arzneimittelforschung 1976;26(11):2047-2048. View abstract.
Wojcicki, J. Effect of 1,5-dicaffeylquinic acid (cynarine) on cholesterol levels in serum and liver of acute ethanol-treated rats. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1978;3(2):143-145. View abstract.
Woyke, M., Cwajda, H., Wojcicki, J., and Kosmider, K. [Platelet aggregation in workers chronically exposed to carbon disulfide and subjected to prophylactic treatment with Cynarex]. Med Pr 1981;32(4):261-264. View abstract.
Zapolska-Downar, D., Zapolski-Downar, A., Naruszewicz, M., Siennicka, A., Krasnodebska, B., and Koldziej, B. Protective properties of artichoke (Cynara scolymus) against oxidative stress induced in cultured endothelial cells and monocytes. Life Sci. 11-1-2002;71(24):2897-08. View abstract.
Adzet T, Camarasa J, Laguna JC. Hepatoprotective activity of polyphenolic compounds from Cynara scolymus against CCl4 toxicity in isolated rat hepatocytes. J Nat Prod 1987;50:612-7. View abstract.
Brown JE, Rice-Evans CA. Luteolin-rich artichoke extract protects low density lipoprotein from oxidation in vitro. Free Radic Res 1998;29:247-55. View abstract.
Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, et al. Artichoke leaf extract reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and improves quality of life in otherwise healthy volunteers suffering from concomitant dyspepsia: a subset analysis. J Altern Complement Med 2004;10:667-9. View abstract.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
Englisch W, Beckers C, Unkauf M, et al. Efficacy of Artichoke dry extract in patients with hyperlipoproteinemia. Arzneimittelforschung 2000;50:260-5. View abstract.
Gebhardt R. Antioxidative and protective properties of extracts from leaves of the artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) against hydroperoxide-induced oxidative stress in cultured rat hepatocytes. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 1997;144:279-86. View abstract.
Gebhardt R. Hepatoprotection with artichoke extract. Pharm Ztg 1995;140:34-7.
Gebhardt R. Inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis in primary cultured rat hepatocytes by artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) extracts. J Pharmacol Exp Therap 1998;386:1122-8.. View abstract.
Hammerl WH, Kindler K, Kranzl C, et al. Effect of cynarin (cynarine) on hyperlipidemia, especially on hypercholesterolemia. Wien Med Wochenschr 1973;123:601-5.
Heckers H, Dittmar K, Schmahl FW, Huth K. Inefficiency of cynarin as therapeutic regimen in familial type II hyperlipoproteinaemia. Atherosclerosis 1977;26:249-53. View abstract.
Holtmann G, Adam B, Haag S, et al. Efficacy of artichoke leaf extract in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia: a six-week placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicentre trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2003;18:1099–105. View abstract.
Kraft K. Artichoke leaf extract- recent findings reflecting effects on lipid metabolism, liver and gastrointestinal tracts. Phytomedicine 1997;4:369-78.
Marakis G, Walker AF, Middleton RW, et al. Artichoke leaf extract reduces mild dyspepsia in an open study. Phytomedicine 2002;9:694-9. . View abstract.
Mars G, Brambilla G. [Effect of 1,5-dicafleylquinic acid (cynarine) on hypertriglyceridemia in aged patients]. Med Welt 9-27-1974;25:1572-1574. View abstract.
Montini M, Levoni P, Ongaro A, Pagani G. [Controlled application of cynarin in the treatment of hyperlipemic syndrome. Observations in 60 cases]. Arzneimittelforschung 1975;25:1311-1314. View abstract.
Petrowicz O, Gebhardt R, Donner M, et al. Effects of artichoke leaf extract (ALE) on lipoprotein metabolism in vitro and in vivo. Atherosclerosis 1997;129:147.
Pittler MH, Thompson CO, Ernst E. Artichoke leaf extract for treating hypercholesterolaemia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;3:CD003335. View abstract.
Pittler MH, White AR, Stevinson C, Ernst E. Effectiveness of artichoke extract in preventing alcohol-induced hangovers: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ 2003;169:1269-73. View abstract.
Walker AF, Middleton RW, Petrowicz O. Artichoke leaf extract reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a post-marketing surveillance study. Phytother Res 2001;15:58-61. View abstract.