- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy
Cholesterol and other lipids reduction
Digestive problems - dyspepsia (popular use)
- Other indications, but with no proof of efficacy:
Irritable bowel syndrome
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Low
- Adverse Effects: Rare
Part of the plant used: leaves
Artichoke is an edible plant, up to 1,5 meters high, found in the Mediterranean region. Its very characteristic flower is edible. Artichoke was cultivated by the Greeks and Roman who appreciated its medicinal virtues. Today, it is largely available and prepared in a number of ways. It is considered a delicate dish.
Artichoke contains several polyphenolic substances, flavonoids and glycosides. Its effect on the liver is mainly attributed to its cynarine content. It is regarded as highly effective in the treatment of biliary disorders, nausea and indigestion.
Direction of use
There is no evidence that artichoke is effective in any indication. However it is used to treat certain medical conditions in which it may be of some benefit:
- Digestive problems (dyspepsia):
Artichoke may be somewhat effective in the above indication. Improvement can take up tu 8 weeks of treatment.
Leaves, stem or root: 1 to 4 grams 3 times a day. A typical dose of artichoke leaves is 6 grams daily.
Standardized (2% to 5% cynarin) leaves extract: 320 to 640 mg 3 times a day
- Irritable bowel syndrome:
There is some evidence that leaf extract can reduce abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, flatulence and constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome after 6 weeks treatment.
Used doses: 640 mg 3 times a day.
- To reduce cholesterol and lipid levels:
Used doses: 1800 mg to 3600 mg of dry leaf extract a day.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that artichoke is effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Artichoke is not associated with any specific toxicity. Some people complain of flatulences.
Artichoke is contraindicated in people with duct obstruction and should be used with extreme caution if the individual has gallstones (biliary lithiasis). It may cause an allergic reaction in some people, especially those who are allergic to ragweed or daisies.
No interactions reported.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
The product appears to be safe during pregnancy and breast-feeding, but it should be used in moderation.
- Artichoke has been used for centuries. It has choleretic, diuretic and hypolipidemic properties. Because of its choleretic effect, it is useful in the treatment of digestive problems.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Blumethal M et al. The Complete German Commission E monographs, 1998
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Lininger S. et Al. The Natural Pharmacy, Prima Health, 1998
- Facts & Comparisons, The Lawrence review of natural products, 1998
- Passeportsanté.net. Artichaut. www.passeportsante.net
- Barnes J. et Al. Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition, Pharmaceutical Press, 2002
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
- Health Canada, Natural Products Database
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.