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Updated September 21, 2012

What is Artichoke?

Other names: Cynara scolymus

Artichoke is a plant native to southern Europe, North Africa and the Canary islands.

Artichoke is a food. It's also available in some health food stores and online as a liquid extract or in capsule form.

Why People Use Artichoke?

  • Liver or Gallbladder Conditions

    Artichoke is approved by Germany's Commission E for liver and gallbladder complaints. It appears to stimulate the flow of bile.

  • High Cholesterol

    Artichoke extracts are thought to help decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels, although it hasn't been proven in human studies.

  • Indigestion

    Side Effects and Safety Concerns

    Artichoke is thought to stimulate the flow of bile, so supplements shouldn't be used if there is a known or suspected blockage of the bile duct.

    Artichoke supplements should be avoided by people with gallstones, unless under the supervision of a qualified health profession, due to the risk of gallstones getting stuck in the bile duct.

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