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Improve Liver Function With Artichoke

Improve Liver Function With Artichoke

Thursday, May 1st 2003

Artichoke extract and Milk thistle extract are both promoted as liver remedies. Which one is better?

Both plants are members of the thistle family, and their active compounds, cynarin and silymarin, respectively, are also quite similar. As far as which is better, it really depends on the person. For patients with more serious liver diseases, such as viral hepatitis (acute or chronic), I think Milk Thistle extract is a better choice, as it has greater documentation showing effectiveness in this application than does artichoke extract. Milk thistle extract has been shown to be effective in both acute and chronic viral hepatitis in double-blind studies.

I think Artichoke extract is a better choice as a general tonic to improve liver function and detoxification. Artichoke extract is also a better choice as a digestive aid in patients with digestive disturbance, such as excessive flatulence, bloating after eating and constipation (or diarrhoea). In this latter application, artichoke extract has apparently shown good results in clinical trials.

Artichoke Enhances Detoxification and Protects the Liver

Artichoke extract has been shown to enhance detoxification reactions as well as protect the liver from damage. During detoxification of the liver, the toxic substance is often initially converted to an even more toxic form. Without adequate protection, every time the liver neutralizes a toxin, it is damaged in this process. Artichoke extract has been shown to provide valuable protection.

Once the liver has modified a toxin, it needs to be eliminated from the body as soon as possible. One of the primary routes of elimination is through the bile. However, when the manufacture of bile is reduced or the excretion of bile is inhibited (a condition called cholestasis), toxins stay in the liver and body longer. Another beneficial effect of artichoke is that it acts as a choleretic. A choleretic is a substance that increases the formation and flow of bile to and from the liver.

Bile plays an important role in making the stool soft by promoting the incorporation of water into the stool. Without enough bile, the stool can become quite hard and difficult to pass. Bile also helps keep the small intestine from microorganisms (parasites). In trials artichoke extract has increased the flow of bile by 90% to 150%.

Improves Cholesterol Metabolism

Artichoke extract exerts a dual effect on cholesterol metabolism. First, it decreases the manufacture of cholesterol in the liver where 80% to 90% is manufactured. Secondly it increases the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. High cholesterol may be the result of impaired conversion of cholesterol to bile acids.

Aids Digestive Problems

In one study of 553 patients, digestive disturbances improved after six weeks of treatment with Artichoke extract on average 70.5%. The most pronounced improvement was found with vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation, flatulence and fat intolerance. In 85% of patients, doctors judged Artichoke extract results as excellent or good, in 12% as moderate and in 3% as minimal.

Reproduced unabridged from the April- June 2003 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Supporting your Liver:

Dandelion Coffee
Dandelion Root
Formula 825 Verm Xpel
Liver Detox & Support
Livatone Plus
Super Thisilyn - Advanced Detox Formula
Thisilyn Cleanse With Herbal Digestive Sweep
Thisilyn Daily Cleanse
Thisilyn Digestive Cleanse

Related health information can be found here:

Cirrhosis (Liver)
Crohn's Disease
Liver Problems

Related articles can be found here:

Detox your body - improve your engery
Detoxify & Rejuvenate Thisilyn Cleanse
Don't Forget Your Liver
Thisilyn - Milk Thistle Extract

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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