Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaf extract was one of the few herbal remedies which the clinical and experimental trials have complemented each other. C. scolymus exibits CHOLERETIC properties – increases the bile secretion, inhibits of inflammation and ROS, improves liver function, gut microbiota, enhances lipolysis and lipid metabolism, and reduces blood glucose in preclinical and clinical studies.
The artichoke leaves contain a number of phenolic acids, flavonoids (rutin, luteolin), cynarin and sesquiterpenes (especially caryophyllene and beta-selinene). It also contains tannins, sugar substances, inulin, mucus substances, phytosterols (taraxasterol), essential oil, provitamin A and several enzymes.
The efficacy on indigestion has been well documeted. Due to choleretic activity, by modulating bile synthesis artichoke is widely used recommended for the treatment of indigestion or dyspepsia, especially when the cause may be attributed to slow bile ducts push or disorder in the assimilation of fat.
The efficacious hypolipidemia effect (effects on high choletserol), published in many studies, is due to cynarin and luteolin components in synergy with flavonoids, that play a crucial role in inhibiting cholesterol and triglycerides synthesis by modulation of HMG-CoA reductase activity, rather than a true inhibiton as exibited with statin medictaions. Additional mechanism is trought increasing the cholesterol fecal excretion due to effects on bile acids productio. High LDL levels,
together with high cholesterol and triglycerides levels,are a risk factor for various degenerative vasculardiseases, and in particular for arteriosclerosis. Artcihoke is shown to modify cholesterol levels, incluidng total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterole and LDL/HDL ration, without affecting HDL levels.
Hepatoprotective effect of Cynara extract is reported with reducing the cholesterol biosynthesis and the oxidation of LDL. Artichoke has been found to decrease the production of reactive oxygen species, the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation and increase the activity of glutathione peroxidase, therefore protects the liver cells.
Current studies suggested that extracts from leaves of cynara scolymus has been discovered to help with metabolic disorders (hyperglycemia, inflammatory disorders and abnormal lipid profiles).
Researches have shown lowering in postprandial hypoglycemia and overall improvement in fasting blood sugar with Artichoke consumption. The proposed mechanisms were: by affecting glucose absorption and as an antioxidant it delays depletion of stomach and bowels which inhibited alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes in bowels and blocked glucose transportation to blood. On the other hand antioxidants have insulin-like effect and increase glucose absorption in peripheral tissue. Another probable mechanism is influencing beta-cells, repairing damage cells, and stimulating these cells to secrete insulin.