Artichoke Leaf Extract Clinical Evidence

Phytomedicine. 
Marakis, G, et al. Artichoke leaf extract reduces mild dyspepsia in an open study. 2002 Dec;9(8):694-9. 

Topic: 
Can artichoke leaf extract (ALE) help patients with mild dyspepsia (indigestion)?

Background:
A previous study found high doses of ALE may reduce symptoms of indigestion. Can a lower dose be effective?

Study Type:
Human Clinical Intervention Trial

Study Design:
Open, dose-ranging study. Subjects completed the Nepean Dyspepsia Index (NDI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory at baseline and after 2 months.

Subjects:
516 healthy patients with indigestion (454 completed)

Dosage:
320 mg or 640 mg/day of ALE for 2 months

Results:
Subjects’ dyspeptic symptoms deceased by 40% — a significant reduction — with no difference between the two dosages. Quality of life improved in both groups. (Anxiety relief was more pronounced in the higher dose group.)

Conclusion:
ALE shows promise to ameliorate upper gastro-intestinal symptoms and improve quality of life in otherwise healthy subjects suffering from dyspepsia.

Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 

Bundy, R, et al. Artichoke leaf extract reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and improves quality of life in otherwise healthy volunteers suffering from concomitant dyspepsia: a subset analysis. 2004 Aug;10(4):667-9. 

Topic: 
Can artichoke leaf extract (ALE) help people suffering from both dyspepsia (indigestion) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Background:
People with indigestion suffer from bloating, feeling too full, belching, gas, nausea, and abdominal pain, while IBS causes chronic abdominal pain with alternating constipation and diarrhea. Can artichoke leaf extract alleviate these symptoms?

Study Type:
Human Clinical Intervention Trial

Study Design:
Subset analysis of previous dose-ranging trial. Incidence of IBS symptoms, self-reported bowel pattern and the Nepean Dyspepsia Index were used to compare subjects’ symptoms at baseline and at 2 months.

Subjects:
208 adults with dyspepsia and IBS

Dosage:
320 mg or 640 mg/day for 2 months

Results:
IBS symptoms decreased by 26%. A significant number of subjects reported moving away from “alternating constipation/diarrhea” to a normal pattern of bowel movements. NDI symptoms fell by 41% — indicating improved digestion — and there was a 20% increase in quality of life scores after treatment. All these findings were statistically significant.

Conclusion:
“This report supports previous finding that ALE ameliorates symptoms of IBS, plus improved health-related QOL.” 

Artichoke Leaf Extract Mechanism of Action

Artichoke leaf extract increases the flow of bile, a product of the liver that aids fat digestion. In addition, artichoke leaf extract has anti-spasmodic properties, so it lessens digestive pain due to intestinal spasms as well as vomiting. 

Both the increased bile secretion and the antispasmodic effect of artichoke leaf extract can alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhea. Bile speeds the rate of transit through the gastrointestinal system, relieving bloating and constipation, while the reduction of spasms slows down bowel activity, which, when too rapid, can result in diarrhea.