Solaray Artichoke Leaves
Artichoke is a vegetable appreciated for its flavorful leaves and flower bases. Artichokes have numerous healthful properties. One of these healthful properties can be found in the artichoke leaves. The leaves contain a compound called cynarin which has demonstrated liver tonic properties similar to milk thistle.
Parts used and where grown:
This large thistle-like plant is native to the regions of southern Europe, North Africa, and the Canary Islands. The leaves of the plant are used medicinally. However, the roots and the immature flower heads may also contain beneficial compounds.
Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies)
The artichoke is one of the world’s oldest medicinal plants. The ancient Egyptians placed great value on the plant—it is clearly seen in drawings involving fertility and sacrifice. Moreover, this plant was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a digestive aid. In 16th century Europe, the artichoke was favored as a food by royalty.
Artichoke leaves contain a wide number of active constituents, including cynarin, dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid, and scolymoside. The choleretic (bile stimulating) action of the plant has been well documented in a controlled trial involving a small sample of healthy volunteers. After the administration of 1.92 grams of standardized artichoke extract directly into the duodenum, liver bile flow increased significantly. This choleretic effect has led to the popular use of artichoke extract in Europe for the treatment of mild indigestion—particularly following a meal high in fat. In an uncontrolled clinical trial with 553 people suffering from non-specific digestive disorders (including indigestion), 320–640 mg of a standardized artichoke extract taken three times per day was found to reduce nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, and flatulence in over 70% of the study participants.
The standardized extract has also been used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides. In one preliminary trial and one controlled trial, use of a standardized artichoke extract was found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides significantly when taken in amounts ranging from 900 to 1,920 mg per day. One preliminary trial failed to find any effect. While scientists are not certain how artichoke leaves lower cholesterol, test tube studies have suggested that the action may be due to an inhibition of cholesterol synthesis and/or the increased elimination of cholesterol because of the plant’s choleretic action. In test tube studies, the flavonoids from the artichoke (e.g., luteolin) have been shown to prevent LDL-cholesterol oxidation—an effect that may reduce risk of atherosclerosis.
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