Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a large thistle-like plant is native to the regions of southern Europe, North Africa, and the Canary Islands. The artichoke is one of the world's oldest nutraceutical plants. The ancient Egyptians placed great va... *
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a large thistle-like plant is native to the regions of southern Europe, North Africa, and the Canary Islands. The artichoke is one of the world's oldest nutraceutical 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 sixteenth-century Europe, the artichoke was favored as a food by royalty. It can also be tried to lower cholesterol, as a digestive aid, for liver protection and gallstones.
Artichoke leaves contain a wide number of active constituents, including cynarin, 1,3 dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid, and scolymoside. The choleretic (bile stimulating) action of the plant has been well documented in a placebo-controlled trial involving 20 healthy volunteers. After the administration of 1.92 grams of standardized artichoke extract directly into the duodenum, liver bile flow increased by 127.3% and 151.5% at the 30- and 60-minute mark, respectively. This choleretic effect has led to the popular use of artichoke extract in Europe for the potential to help support symptoms of mild dyspepsia and indigestion-particularly following a meal high in fat. In an open-label study with 553 persons suffering from non-specific digestive disorders (including dyspepsia and indigestion), 320-640 mg of a standardized artichoke extract taken three times per day was found to help support nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, and flatulence in over 70% of the study participants.
The plant can also be employed therapeutically in supporting elevated lipid levels, although with mixed results. For example, a research study in the late 1970s using cynarin at a daily amount of either 250 mg or 750 mg concluded that it did not alter cholesterol and triglyceride levels in patients with familial high cholesterol after three months of therapy. In contrast, however, a recent open-label European study (partially summarized above) suggests that artichoke is efficacious in altering lipid values. After using a standardized artichoke extract (320 mg/capsule) at an amount of one to two capsules two to three times a day for six weeks, total cholesterol and triglyceride values decreased significantly by an average of 11.5% and 12.5%, respectively. HDL-cholesterol levels did not rise significantly. The results of this study, however, must be questioned because of the lack of dietary control and the lack of a placebo group.
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 reduction 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 help avoid LDL-cholesterol oxidation. Moreover, artichoke leaves may be liver protective, as test tube results have demonstrated its effectiveness against carbon tetrachloride-induced toxicity.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].
At the recommended amount and according to the German Commission E Monographs, there are no known side effects or drug interactions.
However, they also state that the use of artichoke is contraindicated in those who are allergic to artichokes and other members of the Compositae (e.g., daisy) family.
In addition, those who have any obstruction of the bile duct (e.g., as a result of gallstones) should not employ this plant therapeutically. There have been reports of kidney failure and/or toxicity from the use of artichoke leaves.
The plant's safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with artichoke.
ZooScape is proud to be the exclusive distributor of TerraVita teas, herbs and supplements in the United States, Canada and around the world. Please direct all wholesale and bulk inquiries to Simona Heather at 1-844-449-0444.
End of More Photographs - Artichoke Leaf Tea (Loose)
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."