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Artichoke has been used traditionally as food and as a medicinal herb for its diuretic and digestive properties. Artichoke leaves are used by many in connection with gastrointestinal complaints stemming from bile deficiency (in the liver and gall bladder), as well as to stimulate appetite and diuresis. The results of several clinical investigations suggested that artichoke extracts are useful when used in connection with hepato-biliary dysfunction and digestive complaints, such as sensation of fullness, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain. Some researchers have even suggested that artichoke dry extract could be safely recommended to patients with hyperlipoproteinemia and for possible prevention of vascular disease. Artichoke also has powerful antioxidant activity.

Suggested health benefits of artichoke

* High Cholesterol: Lowers LDL or bad cholesterol and increases HDL or good cholesterol. Artichoke leaf has been shown to lower cholesterol. One study showed a decrease in total cholesterol of 18.5 and LDL cholesterol by 23. It had actually gained widespread use in the 1950's and 60's before the advent of statin drugs. It is thought to interfere with cholesterol synthesis. A substance it contains called luteolin may play a role in it cholesterol lowering abilities.
* Reduces triglycerides, total serum cholesterol
* Has diuretic properties - useful in kidney disease
* Increases bile flow and lover function - used in connection with cirrhosis
* Helps abdominal pain, heartburn, bloating
* Relieves constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting


The German Commission E recommends 6 g of the dried herb or its equivalent per day, usually divided into 3 doses.


Artichoke leaf appears to be very safe. However, individuals with gall bladder disease should use artichoke only under medical supervision. Its safety in pregnant and lactating women is unknown. People with allergies to artichoke or members of the chrysanthemum family should avoid it.

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