Globe Artichoke

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Globe Artichoke
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Source of inulin, a prebiotic
+1 (Slight Evidence)
Cholesterol lowering
0 (Unclear Effectiveness)


  • The globe artichoke belongs to the thistle family. The edible part of the plant, harvested long before it flowers, is the bud of the artichoke head. Artichokes have a long history of medical use; ancient drawings exist of Egyptians holding artichokes, and ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have used artichokes to aid digestion. Globe artichoke is a popular herbal remedy in Europe. It is reported to improve digestion and lower cholesterol. It is rich in inulin, a prebiotic that promotes the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria, particularly bifidobacteria.
  • Studies in animal and human models have shown that artichoke extract stimulates release of bile, which helps digest food. Products that improve bile flow are called choleretic. Additional human studies are needed to make a firm recommendation for artichoke as a choleretic.
  • Artichokes have also been studied for lowering total and triglyceride cholesterol levels in the blood. Preliminary studies in humans have focused on cynarin, the active ingredient in artichoke leaf. Other active constituents with potential benefit for lowering serum lipids include luteolin, cynardoside, scolymoside, and chlorogenic acid.


  • Because globe artichoke is a member of the same family of plants that includes chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds and ragweed, it has the potential to cause an allergic reaction in some people.
  • We wish we could say that globe artichoke helps to decrease the risks of arterial aging, but it has not been shown to improve artery health or lower LDL cholesterol. There are also no data to indicate that it raises good HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Globe artichoke affects blood-thinning antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs such as aspirin and clopidogrel. At best, it is only minimally helpful in preventing arterial aging. Better choices may be oat bran, omega-3 or omega-7 fatty acids, all of which have few if any effects on blood clotting, and no major side effects.

Globe artichoke may affect the blood-thinning activity of drugs such as aspirin and clopidogrel.

CONCLUSION: If you elect to try Globe Artichoke, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

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