Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaf extract was one of the few herbal remedies which the clinical and experimental trials have complemented each other. C. scolymus inhibits the digestive enzymes such as pancreas lipase, α-amylase, α-glucosidase, it is CHOLERETIC- increases the bile secretion, inhibits of inflammation and ROS, improves liver function, gut microbiota, enhances lipolysis and lipid metabolism, and reduces blood glucose in preclinical and clinical studies.
The artichoke leaves contain a number of phenolic acids, flavonoids (rutin, luteolin), cynarin and sesquiterpenes (especially caryophyllene and beta-selinene). It also contains tannins, sugar substances, inulin, mucus substances, phytosterols (taraxasterol), essential oil, provitamin A and several enzymes.
The efficacious HYPOLIPIDEMIA effect, published in many studies, is due to cynarin and luteolin components that play a crucial role in inhibiting cholesterol and triglycerides synthesis by regulation of HMG-CoA reductase activity and by increasing the fecal excretion of bile acids that follows a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol.
HEPATOPROTECTIVE effect of Cynara extract is reported with reducing the cholesterol biosynthesis and the oxidation of LDL. Artichoke has been found to decrease the production of reactive oxygen species, the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation and increase the activity of glutathione peroxidase.
Current studies suggested that extracts from leaves of cynara scolymus has been discovered to help with metabolic disorders (hyperglycemia, inflammatory disorders and abnormal lipid profiles).
Researches have shown lowering in postprandial hypoglycemia and overall improvement in fasting blood sugar with Artichoke consumption. The proposed mechanisms were: by affecting glucose absorption and as an antioxidant it delays depletion of stomach and bowels which inhibited alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzymes in bowels and blocked glucose transportation to blood. On the other hand antioxidants have insulin-like effect and increase glucose absorption in peripheral tissue. Another probable mechanism is influencing beta-cells, repairing damage cells, and stimulating these cells to secrete insulin.