Key health benefits of artichoke relate to its ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels and help protect the liver cells from toxins such as alcohol. However, the benefits of artichoke and artichoke extracts are far greater than many people realize. As I shared a while ago, I’d been experiencing some relatively minor issues with my health and embarked on a natural health journey to attempt to normalize my body in more natural and homeopathic ways. In the process, I’ve been learning so much about my body and natural ways to preserve it with foods and minerals I am exposed to every day. One of these is artichoke.
Native to the warmer climates found in the Mediterranean, globe artichoke is a herb, with the leaves being where the most active ingredients are located. The fleshy flower part of globe artichoke is often eaten as a delicacy. While eating artichoke is a naturally healthy part of one’s diet, for this article, I’m specifically talking about artichoke extracts and supplements.
Benefits of Artichoke Extracts
Globe artichoke is recognized to have an antioxidant property and is helpful in terms of liver cleansing and regeneration. In The Essential Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements, Brewer (2010) explains how artichoke extracts promote secretion of bile, which is made in the liver and then stored in the gall bladder until it is mixed with food. Contained in bile are salts and acids, which are used in the process of emulsification, allowing fat globules to be reduced in size in order to be processed and absorbed more easily.
However, artichoke extracts are not recommended if one has either jaundice or a bile duct obstruction, where both of these conditions will require accessing medical treatment. Any concerns about liver health or whether artichoke extracts are suitable for one’s medical situation, should be discussed with a qualified nutritionist or family doctor.
Health Benefits of Artichoke Supplements
Artichoke supplements have been used in the treatment of a wide range of health conditions and are recognized to have similar properties to that of milk thistle. These are some of the key health benefits of artichoke supplements:
- improves digestion
- increases bile secretion
- reduces blood cholesterol
- protects liver cells
- reduces irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms
- helps with abdominal pain (related to hangovers)
- helps reduce flatulence
- helps with bloating
- helps combat nausea
There are clearly many ways in which this herbal supplement is able to help those suffering from various health conditions. One of the primary health benefits associated with artichoke is in the area of digestive-related symptoms. Studies have proven that artichoke may help to significantly improve IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, fat intolerance, nausea, vomiting and constipation. I’ve used the Artichoke Extract supplements from NOW Foods and they’ve worked wonders on my digestive issues.
Research undertaken into treating high cholesterol with the herb have shown that it may lower LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and raise levels of HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol). While more research studies are needed, there already exists evidence that the benefits of taking artichoke extracts or supplements can make a real difference to certain health conditions.
As highlighted above, if you suffer from IBS and other digestion-related health conditions, you will be likely to see an improvement in symptoms from taking artichoke supplements. But as always, I have to share that before taking any herbal remedies, you must discuss with your doctor first!