Botanical family: Compositae
Parts used: Leaves
Main active ingredients: Cyanaroside, sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, polyphenols
Actions: Digestive tonic, antioxidant
Good for: Liver and kidney problems, high cholesterol, indigestion, kidney stones, gastritis
Available forms: Tincture, tablet, capsule
Belonging to the same botanical family as the milk thistle and the daisy, the artichoke can grow as high as two metres and produces large purple flowers in late autumn. It is one of nature’s best-kept secrets when it comes to looking for a cure for digestive problems, high cholesterol and liver and kidney problems.
History of Artichoke
The health benefits of artichoke were first documented by pupils of Aristotle in around the 4th century BC. And since ancient times the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, ‘…cleaning the blood as well as the bladder’. The Egyptians valued it as a health and diet food and Plinius described it as the ‘food for the rich’.
Current uses of Artichoke
Herbalists use artichoke leaves to improve appetite and digestion. Their bitter taste is thought to stimulate taste receptors on the tongue, which in turn help to boost digestive juices and enzymes. A recent trial also found that artichoke could help to reduce the symptoms of indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome such as nausea, bloating, constipation and trapped wind.
Artichoke has a protective and regenerative effect on the liver, which means it can help to reverse some of the damage caused by chemical poisons such as alcohol. It also boosts bile production, which helps the body to digest fats as well as keeping bowel movements regular.
It is thought extracts of artichoke may help reduce the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver.
Artichoke’s diuretic properties make it a useful herb when it comes to treating kidney problems such as kidney stones and poor urine production. It has also been used for other conditions associated with poor kidney functions such as arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
How to take Artichoke400mg of artichoke extract can be taken up to twice a day.
WatchpointsIf you suffer from obstructive gall bladder disease you should consult your doctor before taking artichoke extracts as it can increase bile secretion.
Artichoke extract is well tolerated by most people, although occasionally it may cause side effects such as flatulence and mild gastrointestinal problems.
Artichoke can be found in Thisilyn Artichoke (traditionally used to help maintain healthy digestion) and in Thisilyn Turmeric Xtra with turmeric (traditionally used to help maintain a healthy bowel and healthy digestion).