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Artichoke leaf extract for serum cholesterol reduction

Clinical bottom line: Clinical bottom line: there is a small amount of preliminary information to suggest that artichoke leaf extract may be beneficial in reducing total cholesterol in patients with elevated total cholesterol. However, this is based on a very small number of patients, and represents a sub-group analysis. Further information is needed to determine whether this effect is real, the amount of cholesterol reduction, and the effect of artichoke on the HDL/LDL ratio.

Artichoke (cynara scolymus) is thought to have a number of beneficial effects, and has been used in jaundice and liver insufficiency as well as for cholesterol reduction. It is thought that artichoke inhibits oxidation of low density lipoprotein and reduces cholesterol biosynthesis. Active components of artichoke are thought to be cynarine and luteolin.

Systematic review:

Pittler MH, Ernst E. Artichoke leaf extract for serum cholesterol reduction. Perfusion 1998; 11:338-40.

Date review completed: May 1997

Number of trials included: One

Number of patients: 44

Control groups: placebo

Main outcomes: total cholesterol

Inclusion criteria were clinically controlled trials of oral administration of artichoke extract for serum cholesterol reduction. There were no restrictions to language, and manufacturers were contacted for further published or unpublished information. Reviewers provided a descriptive summary of trial findings.


One high quality, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 44 healthy volunteers was included. Artichoke extract was given at doses of 640 mg three times daily for 12 weeks. There were no differences in total serum cholesterol levels compared with placebo. Sub-group analysis showed significant benefit of artichoke when baseline total cholesterol values were above 210 mg/dl.

Adverse effects

No major adverse effects were noted. Reviewers also provide adverse effects information from five other studies, including post-marketing and surveillance studies, which suggest that adverse effects are mild and infrequent.



No evidence for this therapy. Benecol works .

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