Cynara scolymus

Cynara scolymus

Image I


Image II

Botanical Name: Cynara scolymus
Common name: Globe Artichoke (Heinrich, Barnes, Gibbons & Williamson, 2002, p. 207)
Family: Asteraceae (Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 207) Globe Artichoke (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532).
Parts used: Leaf (therapeutic), Flower head (culinary) (Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 207)


  • Sesquiterpenes
  • lactones (cynaropicrin)
  • Flavonoids (cynaropicrin)
  • Phenolic acids (mainly caffeic acid derivatives)

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532)


  • Antioxidant (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532)
  • Cholagogue (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532; Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 207)
  • Diuretic (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532)
  • Hepatoprotective (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532; Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 207)
  • Lipid-lowering (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 532)


A species of thistle, Globe Artichoke was first grown in Ethiopia and made its way to Southern Europe through Egypt (can be seen in Ancient Egyptian drawings). Artichoke has a long standing tradition in Folklore medicine, notably in France (Basch, Boon, Engebretson, Giese, Hawkins, Holmes, Smith, Ulbricht, Weissner & Yoon, 2013).


  • Fat intolerance
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting (Heinrich et al., 2002, pp. 207-208)
  • IBS (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 534; Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 208)
  • Hyperlipidaemia and high cholesterol levels (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 533)
  • Non-ulcer dyspepsia (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 533)


  • Liquid extract
  • Dried leaves
  • Succus from fresh plant

(Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 534).


Artichoke leaf extract: 1500mg/day found to be useful as a cholagogue in one clinical study (Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 208)

In one study intraduodenal administration of 1.92g/day resulted in significant increase in bile flow over a period of 2 hours (Heinrich et al., 2002, p. 208).


Safety in pregnancy has not being scientifically established, dietry intake is considered likely safe (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 534).


As a cholagogue, Cynara is contraindicated in the case of painful gallstones, acute bilious colic, acute cholecystitis and some liver disorders (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 504).


Basch, E., Boon, H., A., Engebretson, J., Giese, N., Hawkins, E. B., Holmes, C., Smith, M., Ulbricht, C., Weissner, W., & Yoon, H. (2013). Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Retrieved from:

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence-based guide (3rd ed.). Chatswood, NWS: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Gibbons, S., and Williamson, E. (2012). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Image I: Africa Museum. (n.d.). Prelude Medicinal Plants Database. Retrieved from:

Image II: van Raalte, J. (2011). Cynara scolymus/Flowering Artichoke. Retrieved from:

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