Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)


Globe Artichoke Overview:

Originating from the Mediterranean, globe artichokes have since spread the world over. They are used as both a food, and a medicine. The unopened flowering bracts are harvested and eaten as a delicacy, while the leaves are mainly used as a bitter, and treatment for liver and gallbladder conditions.

The bitter principles stimulate the release of bile from the gallbladder, and cynarin, one of the main bioactives in the plant protects the liver from metabolic buildup.

+ Indications

  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Constipation
  • Dyspepsia
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Hepatobiliary diseases
  • High cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Reducing effects of lead poisoning
  • Viral Hepatitis

+ Contraindications

  • Caution advised for drug interactions through CYP enzyme metabolism.

Main Herbal Actions:

  • Antioxidant
  • Bitter
  • Choleretic
  • Cholagogue
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Diuretic
  • Carminative
  • Hypocholesterolemic
  • Spasmolytic
  • Mild ACE inhibitor

Main Uses:

Globe artichoke is mainly used for metabolic syndrome, diabetess, high cholesterol or hypertriglyceridemia. It is also used as a digestive supportive, liver supportive, cardiosupportive, gallbladder defficiencies, and allergies.


Part Used

Unopened flowers, and leaves.

Family Name




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Constituents of Interest

  • Cynarin
  • Luteolin
  • Cafeoylquinic acids
  • Sesquiterpene lactones

Common Names

  • Artichoke
  • Alcachofra
  • Artichaut
  • Tyosen-azami

Botanical Info:

Artichoke is part of the asteraceae (sunflower) family of plants, which is the largest of the flowering species of plants.

The Cynara genus consists of about 10 species. The main species used as medicine is Cynara scolymus, however, many of the other species are eaten as a vegetable.

Globe artichoke is a type of thistle, characterised by sharp prickles on the leaf margins. Other members of the family include Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), and Scotch thistle.


Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Artichoke:

The combination of ACE inhibitor, glucose-6-phosphatase inhibition, choleretic, and antioxidant value of artichoke makes it especially useful for conditions related to metabolic syndrome (diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and cardiovascular disease). Additionally, artichoke is useful for reducing toxic burden, and relieving dyspepsia.



Avoid strong concentrations if pregnant (normal dosage range is okay), or if gallstones are present, the cholagogue activities of this herb can force the stones to block the gall ducts.


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For reference list, visit the full globe artichoke monograph.