Part of the plant used for medicinal purposes: leaves (Cynarae folium)

Description and harvesting

Artichoke belongs to the aster (Asteraceae) family. It grows up to 2 m tall and has purple flower buds. The leaves are picked at the time of blooming.

Constituents and medicinal use

The main ingredients in an artichoke are: chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, flavonoids (luteolin, scolymoside, cynaroside), cynarine and bitter sesquiterpene lactones (cynaropicrin, grosheimin). Artichoke also includes potassium, folic acid and vitamin C.
Artichoke promotes liver cell health. It is a strong antioxidant which prevents the appearance of harmful reactive radicals. It inhibits the production of cholesterol in the liver. The human body synthesizes 80% of cholesterol in the liver and the other 20% comes from food. Artichoke inhibits the HMG-CoA enzyme which is essential in the production of cholesterol in the liver cells. It has been proven in trials that luteoline has the highest inhibiting effect on cholesterol in the liver; it reduces the concentration of the LDL cholesterol in blood. Artichoke also increases the production of bile in the liver and the secretion of bile from the liver. It prevents the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque in vessel walls and as such it is also used to prevent atherosclerosis. It reduces the concentration of triglycerides (fats) in blood.
Artichoke inhibits the activity of digestive enzymes (pancreatic lipase, α-amylase, α-glucosidase) and as such it contributes to bodyweight reduction. It improves lipolysis (fat dissolving) and lipid metabolism and contributes to the reduction of blood glucose. Obese people have elevated ALT (alanine transaminase) in AST (aspartate transaminase) liver enzymes. Artichoke importantly contributes to reducing these, thereby making it appropriate in weight-loss therapy. Artichoke contains inulin, which is food for bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus genuses in the intestines. Inulin travels through the stomach and the small intestine in its original form, so it is fully available to the bacterial flora in the large intestine.
The bitter substances of the artichoke stimulate appetite. Artichoke increases urine secretion. Monk Simon Ašič recommended it for jaundice and to prevent angina pectoris, rheumatism, urticaria and stroke.
A potential adverse effect of consuming artichoke is an allergy, especially in people who have already developed an allergy to plants from the aster family (e.g. chamomile, arnica). We advise against excessive use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. An allergy in the form of eczema may also develop in contact with the artichoke plant. The main “culprits” for the allergenic properties are cianopicrin and grosheimin.

Monk Simon Ašič’s product containing artichoke:


1. Mahboubi M. Cynara scolymus (artichoke) and its efficacy in management of obesity. Bulletin of Faculty od Pharmacy. Volume 56, Issue 2, December 2018.
2. Kreft S. Sodobna fitoterapija. Slovensko farmacevtsko društvo, Ljubljana, 2013.
3. Kukman J. Domača lekarna patra Simona Ašiča. Priročnik za nabiranje zdravilnih rastlin. Celjska Mohorjeva družba, Celje, 2007.

Cynara scolymus L.

Product containing artichoke: