The Health Benefits of Artichokes

April 1, 2008

Brief History of Artichoke
The globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables, originating from Ethiopia, with Italy currently being the world’s largest producer. It was valued in ancient Greece and Rome as a digestive aid, available only to the wealthy due to its scarcity.

It was the French and Spanish explorers who fist brought artichokes to the shores of the United States, and today virtually all of the globe artichokes grown in the US are produced in Castroville, California.
Nutrients in Artichokes

Globe artichokes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, magnesium, and the trace mineral chromium. They are a very good source of Vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, and the trace mineral manganese. They are a good source of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, and potassium.

cooked boiled, salted
Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 220 kJ (53 kcal)
* Carbohydrates 10.51 g
Dietary fiber 5.4 g
* Fat 0.34 g
* Protein 2.89 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.05 mg
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.089 mg
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.111 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.240 mg
* Vitamin B6 0.081 mg
* Folate (Vit. B9) 89 ?g
* Vitamin C 7.4 mg
* Calcium 21 mg
* Iron 0.61 mg
* Magnesium 42 mg
Phosphorus 73 mg
Potassium 276 mg
Zinc 0.4 mg
Manganese 0.225 mg
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.


Artichoke for Cholesterol Reduction

The artichoke has strong choleretic activity (promotes bile secretion in the liver), and choleretics increase the excretion of cholesterol and decrease the manufacture of cholesterol in the liver.

The pleasant bitter taste of the artichoke is due mostly to a plant chemical called cynarin, which is found in highest concentration in the leaves of the plant. European scientists first discovered cynarin’s ability to reduce cholesterol in the 1970’s. A compound found in artichoke called luteolinis is also believed to assist with reducing LDL cholesterol.

In a 50-day double-blind study, thirty patients received 500 milligrams of pure cynarin per day and had an average 20 percent reduction in total cholesterol along with an average 15 percent reduction in triglycerides compared to a placebo group.

A 6 week double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of 143 patients has demonstrated the effectiveness of artichoke leaf extract (ALE) for lowering LDL cholesterol. The decrease of total cholesterol in the group that received the extract was 18.5% compared to 8.6% in for the placebo group. LDL cholesterol decrease in the ALE group was 22.9% and 6.3% for placebo. LDL cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio showed a decrease of 20.2% in the ALE group and 7.2% in the placebo group.

Artichoke Leaf Extract for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptom

In a trial involving 208 adults, results provide support for the notion that artichoke leaf extract has potential value in relieving irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Artichoke Leaf Extract for Dyspepsia

In a double-blind trial, 247 patients with dyspepsia (digestive problems) were treated with artichoke leaf extract, and the results demonstrated an improvement in their dyspeptic symptoms. Dyspepsia is often attributed to insufficient flow of bile from the gallbladder, and there is evidence that artichoke leaf has the ability to stimulate this flow.

Artichoke for Healthy Liver Function

The artichoke plant is a member of the thistle family, and like milk thistle, it benefits the liver, protecting against toxins and infection. A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.

Artichoke for Diabetes

The carbohydrate in artichokes is in the form of inulin, which has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetes. The artichokes must be fresh, as the inulin will eventually convert to other sugars as the artichoke ages.

Artichoke Extract not a Hangover Cure

Contrary to what some would like to believe, a study demonstrated the ineffectiveness of artichoke extract in the cure of alcohol-induced hangovers.

1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Marakis G, Booth JC. Artichoke leaf extract reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and improves quality of life in otherwise healthy volunteers suffering from concomitant dyspepsia: a subset analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Aug;10(4):667-9. PMID: 15353023.
5. Holtmann G, Adam B, Haag S, Collet W, Gr�newald E, Windeck T. Efficacy of artichoke leaf extract in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia: a six-week placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicentre trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Dec;18(11-12):1099-105. PMID: 14653829.
6. Bundy R, Walker AF, Middleton RW, Wallis C, Simpson HC. Artichoke leaf extract (Cynara scolymus) reduces plasma cholesterol in otherwise healthy hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized, double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2008 Sep;15(9):668-75. PMID: 18424099.
7. Englisch W, Beckers C, Unkauf M, Ruepp M, Zinserling V. Efficacy of Artichoke dry extract in patients with hyperlipoproteinemia. Arzneimittelforschung. 2000 Mar;50(3):260-5. PMID: 10758778.
8. Andrew Chevallier. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.

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  1. alcachofa

    March 29, 2011 at 6:42 am

    artichokes have one of the highest amounts of antioxidants for a vegetable!


      May 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

      i read anartichoke but where i will get retail in india

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