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Artichoke has a long history of use as a food and health tonic. This plant contains a rich source of polyphenols, flavonoids and compounds known to support digestive and liver health.
Artichoke, a relative of milk thistle, is one of the oldest known cultivated plants in the world. It has a long history of use as an aid to health, and modern research has now identified its main components and mechanisms of action.
It is the artichoke leaf that is commonly used as it contains the higher concentration of biologically important compounds. These provide phenolic compounds that include chlorogenic acid, cynarin, luteolin scolymoside and cynaroside. O these, the two actives considered most important are chlorogenic acid and cynarin.
Perhaps the best known application for artichoke is the support of liver heath and gastrointestinal function. A clinical study showed significant improvements in patients with symptoms of poor digestion after they were administered artichoke leaf extract for 14 days. Research has also demonstrated that artichoke leaf extract promotes that flow of bile, which is a substance required for absorption of fat-soluble nutrients! The other main role of bile is to aid detoxification, which is the liver’s primary role. Bile also promotes intestinal peristalsis, which is needed for proper colon function and elimination.
Artichoke leaf extract also possesses significant antioxidant activity, which is an additional reason for its hepato-protective action. Furthermore, artichoke extract has been shown to stimulate the regeneration of healthy liver cells.
Additional research on artichoke leaf has focused on its beneficial role on the cardiovascular system and its ability to support health blood lipids.
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