Artichoke Leaf Extract health benefit, cholesterol and liver protection, gastric protection, dosage and review of studies
March 26 2014

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.

Composition
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.

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

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Leaf extract 320 mg, standardized to contain 13% - 18% caffeylquinic acids calculated as chlorogenic acid

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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 and berries 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 of HUVEC cells with the artichoke extract at concentrations abolished reactive oxygen species generation induced by LPS and oxyLDL. 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 protecting agents.

Cancer
Artichoke extract protects liver cells from oxidative stress. It also has apoptotic 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) (2012, Issue 5); MEDLINE Ovid (1966 to May Week 2, 2012); EMBASE Ovid (1980 to 2012 Week 19); and CINAHL Ebsco (1982 to May 2012) on 17 May 2012. CISCOM was last searched until June 2001, and AMED until June 2008. We checked reference lists of articles, and contacted manufacturers of preparations containing artichoke extract, and experts on the subject. Data from three clinical trials assessing ALE for treating high cholesterol are available. Athough the trials are of adequate methodological quality they have some shortcomings and one is available as abstract only. 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 ALE.

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. Serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels and ratio of cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol decreased in ALE plus HC-treated rats, but liver cholesterol and triglyceride levels remained unchanged. Significant decreases in hepatic and cardiac MDA and DC levels and increases in hepatic vitamin E and GSH-Px activities were observed in ALE-treated hypercholesterolemic rats. Our results indicate that artichoke leaf extract decreases serum lipids and hypercholesterolemia-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 (Cynara scolymus) 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 hypercholesterolemia. 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.

Cochrane review
Artichoke leaf extract for treating hypercholesterolaemia.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009; Wider B, Pittler MH, Thompson-Coon J. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, UK.
Artichoke leaf extract has been implicated in lowering cholesterol levels. Whether this dietary supplement is truly effective for this indication, however, is still a matter of debate. We assessed the evidence of ALE versus placebo or reference medication for treating hypercholesterolaemia. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials 2008 Issue 2, MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED and CINAHL from their respective inception until 2008; CISCOM until June 2001. Reference lists of articles were checked. Manufacturers of preparations containing artichoke extract and experts on the subject were contacted. We conclude that some data from clinical trials assessing ALE for treating high cholesterol levels exist. There is an indication that ALE has potential in lowering cholesterol levels, the evidence is, however, as yet not convincing. The limited data on safety suggest only mild, transient and infrequent adverse events with the short term use of this vegetable extract.

Gastritis
Effects of artichoke leaf extract on acute gastric mucosal injury in rats.
Biol Pharm Bull. 2010; Ishida K, Kojima R, Tsuboi M, Tsuda Y. 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 (125-500 mg/kg) 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 and 70% dextrin as a vehicle. 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 do not yet know what form of artichoke extract side effects occur.

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 were 5- O-caffeoylquinic and 1,5-di- 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, but the increase of antioxidant capacity is much higher than the increase of antioxidant concentration. These results suggest that some common cooking treatments can be used to enhance the nutritional value of vegetables, increasing bioaccessibility of health-promoting constituents.

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 in vivo, 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 really the only one that works for IBS.

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