The Health Benefits of Artichoke Leaf Extract

Scientists Examine the Link Between Artichokes and Cholesterol

Artichoke leaf extract is made from artichokes. This plant is part of the daisy family, and it is native to southern Europe and northern Africa.

The artichoke itself is the bud of a flower. It has leaves that protect its meaty core, known as the artichoke heart. The heart is what people eat. It pairs well with many dishes, from soups to salads.

Artichoke leaves have traditionally been used to treat jaundice, acid reflux, some liver disorders, and more. On top of that, research shows that artichoke may be helpful for lowering cholesterol.

This article discusses whether or not artichoke extract could be used to lower cholesterol. It includes tips for finding quality artichoke along with how to prepare it. It also lists some side effects that are linked to eating it.

Artichoke in Baskets, Fresh Spring Vegetables at Farmer's Market
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Health Benefits

Artichoke extract is sometimes used to treat a variety of health conditions, such as:

There is not enough evidence to support the use of artichoke leaf extract for these health benefits.

There is research, however, to support the use of artichoke leaf extract to treat indigestion. More and more researchers are also interested in how artichoke could have the potential to treat high cholesterol.

High Cholesterol

It's not yet clear how effective artichokes are for lowering cholesterol. Studies on this topic have gotten mixed results. Most of the studies only tested the effects of artichoke extract.

It's also not clear what artichokes do in the body to lower cholesterol. It is thought that they may exert a similar effect as statins. This class of drugs is prescribed to people with high cholesterol. Statins work by blocking an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase that plays a role in cholesterol production.

Artichokes also contain antioxidants, such as flavonoids. These chemicals are in many other, colorful vegetables and fruits. They are thought to help lower the oxidation of LDL, which contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup).

Possible Side Effects

Artichokes are likely safe when eaten as food. Research studies have also shown artichoke supplements to be safe when taken for up to 23 months.

The only major side effects to note are hunger, gas, and weakness. Some people may get an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Artichoke might also cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to marigolds, daisies, and other similar herbs.

Recap

The research is mixed on whether or not artichoke extract is effective for lowering cholesterol. That said, there are no major risks involved with eating them in food or supplement form. Side effects include gas and upset stomach.

Dosage and Preparation

There is not a recommended dose for artichoke leaf extract. Amounts used in research vary from 320 to 1,800 milligrams per day.

The right dose for you may depend on your age, gender, medical history, and other factors. Ask your doctor to suggest a good dose for you.

What to Look For

You can often find artichoke leaf extract supplements where other herbal extracts are sold. However, supplements do not lend the same level of nutrients that fresh artichokes can.

There are plenty of ways to include artichokes in your cholesterol-lowering diet. You can lightly sauté, roast, or grill them. Or, you can just eat them raw.

Be careful not to cook your artichokes in heavy fats or fry them. This can add more calories and saturated fat to your dish.

Summary

Researchers have studied the use of artichokes for lowering cholesterol with mixed results. They are unlikely to cause you any harm, but they won't cure your high cholesterol either. Eat them raw or add them to your favorite recipes. You should be able to find supplements at the store, but you will benefit most from cutting out unhealthy foods and adding more fresh artichokes to your diet.

A Word From Verywell

If your diet is heavy in high-fat foods, you could be putting yourself at risk for high cholesterol (if you don't have it already). Eating more artichokes and less junk food is a great choice, but you shouldn't rely on artichoke to lower your LDL cholesterol.

On the bright side, artichoke leaf extract isn't linked to any serious side effects, so it won't hurt to add them to your diet. But it is always good to talk to your doctor first if you take other medications or have certain health conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of artichoke leaf extract?

    According to one study, artichoke leaf extract may offer health benefits such as enhanced endothelial cell function, increased nitric oxide (NO) production in endothelial cells, and anti-inflammation effects. It may also offer the cosmetic benefit of reducing wrinkles by improving skin firmness and elasticity.

  • Can you eat raw artichoke?

    Yes, you can eat raw artichoke. In fact, studies show that artichoke offers a blood pressure-lowering effect for those who eat it. This may be especially helpful for people with mild hypertension (heightened blood pressure).

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rondanelli M, Giacosa A, Opizzi A, et al. Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL-cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolaemia: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013;64(1):7-15. doi:10.3109/09637486.2012.700920

  2. D'Antuono I, Carola A, Sena LM, et al. Artichoke Polyphenols Produce Skin Anti-Age Effects by Improving Endothelial Cell Integrity and FunctionalityMolecules. 2018;23(11):2729. doi:10.3390/molecules23112729

  3. Farshad Roghani-Dehkordi & Amir-Farhad Kamkhah. Artichoke Leaf Juice Contains Antihypertensive Effect in Patients With Mild Hypertension. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 2009;6:4, 328-341, doi:10.3109/19390210903280207