Cynara scolymus commonly known as artichoke is a Mediterranean plant which belongs to the Asteraceae family. Before the flowers of the cynara scolymus bloom, the edible part is formed from the flower buds. Generally, the inside part of the artichoke is used in the food industry, the leaves are not used. However, the leaves of the artichoke can be upcycled and used as a natural medicinal raw material.
The artichoke leaf extract is traditionally used in the treatment of dyspepsia mediated by its choleretic activities. The choleretic effects of artichoke leaf extract is investigated in an animal study on rats. A significant increase is observed in the volume of secretion of bile from the liver. (1) It is stated in another study that the artichoke leaf extract lowers the cholosterol levels. (2) In addition, the antioxidant property of artichoke leaf extract which is related with its polyphenol content is approved in many scientific studies. (3) To conclude, artichoke leaf extract can be used for the liver protection, the anti-aging prevention and the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia which is directly associated with coronary heart disease.
The main active molecule responsible for the therapeutic effects of artichoke extract is cynarin which is found rich in the pulp of the artichoke leaves. The phenolic acid substance cynarin stimulates the contraction of gallbladder and increase the volume of bile flow induced per amount of solute secreted. (1)
- Saénz Rodriguez, D. García Giménez, R. de la Puerta Vázquez, Choleretic activity and biliary elimination of lipids and bile acids induced by an artichoke leaf extract in rats, Phytomedicine, Volume 9, Issue 8, 2002, Pages 687-693, ISSN 0944-7113, DOI: 10.1078/094471102321621278.
- Wider B, Pittler MH, Thompson-Coon J, Ernst E. Artichoke leaf extract for treating hypercholesterolaemia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Mar 28;(3):CD003335. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003335.pub3. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;(5):CD003335. PMID: 23543518.
- Marques, J. Marto, L.M. Gonçalves, R. Pacheco, M. Fitas, P. Pinto, M.L.M. Serralheiro, H. Ribeiro, Cynara scolymus L.: A promising Mediterranean extract for topical anti-aging prevention, Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 109, 2017, Pages 699-706, ISSN 0926-6690, DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2017.09.033.