Cynara scolymus leaf extract supplement health benefit and supplement availability
Feb 28 2014

Cynara scolymus leaf extract is widely used alone or in association with other herbs for embittering alcoholic and soft drinks and to prepare herbal teas or herbal medicinal products. Some of the research with artichoke extract is listed below.

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Enzymatic Therapy

Cynara scolymus Extract Supplement Facts:
Serving Size 2 capsules
Servings per container 45

Amount per 2 capsules
Artichoke ( Cynara scolymus ) Leaf Extract 320 mg**
   Standardized to contain 13% - 18% caffeylquinic acids calculated as chlorogenic acid

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Recommendations: One or two artichoke capsules 1 to 3 times daily.

Clinical uses of Artichoke leaf extract
Artichoke leaf extract has been tested in heartburn, also known as dyspepsia. It has also been tested in irritable bowel syndrome and high cholesterol.

Cynara scolymus for cholesterol
In a study of 140 people with high blood cholesterol levels, supplementing with a daily artichoke extract of 450mg was found to lower the cholesterol level by 18 per cent. Artichoke contains luteolin and other beneficial flavonoids and compounds.

Cynara scolymus as antioxidant
The effect of artichoke Cynara scolymus L. extract on ROS generation in HUVEC cells.
Phytother Res. 2008. Juzyszyn Z, Czerny B, Pawlik A, Droździk M. Juzyszyn Z, Czerny B, Pawlik A, Droździk M. Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Pomeranian Medical University, Powstańców Szczecin, Poland.
The effect of an Cynara scolymus extract on induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in cultured human umbilical endothelial cells (HUVECs) and its reductive properties were evaluated. The results of the present study the warrant application of Cynara scolymus extracts as endothelium protecting agents.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Jan. Investigation of the in vivo antioxidative activity of Cynara scolymus (artichoke) leaf extract in the streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat.

Effect on mitochondria
The effect of artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) extract on respiratory chain system activity in rat liver mitochondria.
Phytother Res. 2010. Juzyszyn Z, Czerny B, Myśliwiec Z, Pawlik A, Droździk M. Department of Medical Chemistry, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland.
The effect of artichoke extract on mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) activity in isolated rat liver mitochondria (including reaction kinetics) was studied. The effect of the extract on the activity of isolated cytochrome oxidase was also studied. Extract in the range of 0.68-2.72 mug/ml demonstrated potent and concentration-dependent inhibitory activity. Concentrations >/=5.4 mug/ml entirely inhibited MRC activity. The succinate oxidase system (MRC complexes II-IV) was the most potently inhibited, its activity at an extract concentration of 1.36 mug/ml being reduced by 63.3% compared with the control. The results suggest a complex inhibitory mechanism of the extract. Inhibition of the succinate oxidase system was competitive, whereas isolated cytochrome oxidase was inhibited noncompetitively. The results of this study suggest that the salubrious effects of artichoke extracts may rely in part on the effects of their active compounds on the activity of the mitochondrial respiratory chain system.

Cynara scolymus plant studies
Antifungal activity of Cynara scolymus L. extracts.
Fitoterapia. 2005 Jan;76(1):108-11.
Chloroform, ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts of Cynara scolymus leaves, heads and stems were tested for their antifungal activity using the agar-well diffusion assay technique. The Cynara scolymus leaves extracts and the ethanol fractions were found to be the most effective extract against all the tested organisms.

Cynara scolymus juice improves endothelial function in hyperlipemia.
Life Sci. 2004 Dec 31;76(7):775-82.
Cynara scolymus extracts have been shown to produce various pharmacological effects, such as the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis and of LDL oxidation. Endothelial dysfunction represents the first stage of atherosclerotic disease. Aim of the study was to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation with artichoke juice on brachial FMV of hyperlipemics. We studied 18 moderately hyperlipemic patients (LDL cholesterol > 130 <200 mg/dl and/or triglycerides >150 <250 mg/dl) of both genders and 10 hyperlipemic patients, matched for age, sex and lipid parameters. In conclusion, Cynara scolymus dietary supplementation seems to positively modulate endothelial function in hypercholesterolemia.

Phenolic compounds from the leaf extract of Cynara scolymus L. and their antimicrobial activities.
J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Dec 1;52(24):7272-8.
A preliminary antimicrobial disk assay of chloroform, ethyl acetate, and n-butanol extracts of Cynara scolymus L. leaf extracts showed that the n-butanol fraction exhibited the most significant antimicrobial activities against seven bacteria species, four yeasts, and four molds. Eight phenolic compounds were isolated from the n-butanol soluble fraction of Cynara scolymus leaf extracts. The isolated compounds were examined for their antimicrobial activities on the above microorganisms, indicating that all eight phenolic compounds showed activity against most of the tested organisms. Among them, chlorogenic acid, cynarin, luteolin-7-rutinoside, and cynaroside exhibited a relatively higher activity than other compounds; in addition, they were more effective against fungi than bacteria.

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.
Does artichoke leaf extract ameliorate symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in otherwise healthy volunteers suffering concomitant dyspepsia? A subset analysis of a previous dose-ranging, open, postal study, in adults suffering dyspepsia. Two hundred and eight (208) adults were identified post hoc as suffering with IBS. IBS incidence, self-reported usual bowel pattern, and the Nepean Dyspepsia Index (NDI) were compared before and after a 2-month intervention period. There was a significant fall in IBS incidence of 26.4% after treatment. A significant shift in self-reported usual bowel pattern away from "alternating constipation/diarrhea" toward "normal" was observed. NDI total symptom score significantly decreased by 41% after treatment. Similarly, there was a significant 20% improvement in the NDI total quality-of-life (QOL) score in the subset after treatment. This report supports previous findings that Cynara scolymus leaf extract ameliorates symptoms of IBS, plus improves health-related QOL.

Flavonoids from artichoke Cynara scolymus L. up-regulate endothelial-type nitric-oxide synthase gene expression in human endothelial cells.
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 Sep;310(3):926-32.
Nitric oxide (NO) produced by endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) represents an antithrombotic and anti-atherosclerotic principle in the vasculature. Hence, an enhanced expression of eNOS in response to pharmacological interventions could provide protection against cardiovascular diseases. In EA.hy 926 cells, a cell line derived from human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), an artichoke leaf extract increased the activity of the human eNOS promoter (determined by luciferase reporter gene assay). An organic subfraction from artichoke leaf extract was more potent in this respect than the crude extract, whereas an aqueous subfraction of artichoke leaf extract was without effect. Thus, in addition to the lipid-lowering and antioxidant properties of artichoke, an increase in eNOS gene transcription may also contribute to its beneficial cardiovascular profile. Cynara scolymus flavonoids are likely to represent the active ingredients mediating eNOS up-regulation.

Effectiveness of artichoke extract in preventing alcohol-induced hangovers: a randomized controlled trial.
CMAJ. 2003 Dec 9;169(12):1269-73.
Extract of globe artichoke Cynara scolymus is promoted as a possible preventive or cure for alcohol-induced hangover symptoms. However, few rigorous clinical trials have assessed the effects of artichoke extract, and none has examined the effects in relation to hangovers. We undertook this study to test whether artichoke extract is effective in preventing the signs and symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover. Our results suggest that Cynara scolymus extract is not effective in preventing the signs and symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover.

Cynara scolymus leaf extract for treating hypercholesterolaemia.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(3):CD003335.
High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease and other sequelae of atherosclerosis. Cynara scolymus leaf extract, which is available as an over-the-counter remedy, has been implicated in lowering cholesterol levels. Whether Cynara scolymus leaf extract is truly efficacious for this indication, however, is still a matter of debate. To assess the evidence of Cynara scolymus leaf extract versus placebo or reference medication for treating hypercholesterolaemia defined as mean total cholesterol levels of at least 5.17 mmol/L (200 mg /dL). Few data from rigorous clinical trials assessing Artichoke leaf extract for treating hypercholesterolaemia exist. Beneficial effects are reported, the evidence however is not compelling. The limited data on safety suggest only mild, transient and infrequent adverse events with the short term use of Cynara scolymus leaf extract.

Cynara scolymus extract availability by herbal suppliers
Cynara scolymus extract is available in a number of concentrations and extract potencies. Herbal Powers Ingredients has artichoke extract as 5 percent cyananine.

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