Artichoke is a lesser-known herbal cure that goes far beyond being a tasty vegetable. It is a member of the spectrum of alternative health and is the subject of many health breakthroughs. Here we look at the top-three ways artichoke can influence your health.
Traditional herbalists believed the leaves could stimulate the kidneys and the flow of bile from the liver and bladder. More modern science pinpointed the compound within the artichoke leaf that appeared to be the root of its medicinal powers. It is called “cynarin”
1. High Cholesterol
From 1950 to 1980 or so, cynarin was one of the main cholesterol-lowering agents. A good study in 2000 put a rubber stamp on cynarin’s abilities in this regard. For six weeks, 143 individuals took artichoke leaf extract. Over that time, total cholesterol fell by 18.5% — versus 8.6% by placebo. It also dropped LDL cholesterol levels a whopping 23% compared to just six percent by placebo. Third, it improved the LDL/HDL ratio by 20% versus the placebo group’s seven percent. These are excellent numbers.
This is a pain or discomfort in the upper part of your abdomen that comes and goes. Two of its biggest causes are ulcers and acid reflux. Artichoke leaf has been found to help treat dyspepsia not caused by a stomach ulcer. The assumption is that artichoke spurs the gallbladder into action, and dyspepsia is often caused by an inadequate flow of bile from that organ. In 2003, a study of 247 people found that the herb proved far more effective than placebo in alleviating dyspepsia symptoms.
3. Liver Protection
This third effect of artichoke is not as well understood. Because it is traditionally believed to stimulate the liver, artichoke is popular as a hangover cure in many parts of the world. Although several animal studies suggest the herb could protect the liver against toxins, no clinical trials have addressed this possibility yet.
Overall, artichoke is a safe herbal remedy that has shown no real side effects in clinical studies. But because safety testing isn’t fully complete, anyone with liver or kidney disease, as well as pregnant women and young children, should avoid artichoke. Because of its impact on the gallbladder, anyone suffering gallstones should avoid it. The herb comes as a powder, an extract, or a tincture. For dyspepsia, doctors often recommend taking one teaspoon of liquid extract mixed in water, or up to 30 drops of a tincture mixed in water, taken three times a day.