While the immature flower is eaten as a vegetable, it is the Globe Artichoke leaf that is used medicinally. The medicinal properties of Globe Artichoke have been known for many years. The leaves were very popular between the 16th and 19th centuries when they were used to stimulate bile flow and for a variety of digestive disorders.
The ability of Globe Artichoke extracts to stimulate bile production and bile flow is well supported by pharmacological studies & clinical trials. A number of studies also support the liver-protective properties of Globe Artichoke, an action that is likely to be related to its antioxidant properties. Significant liver restorative properties have also been demonstrated.
Because of its ability to improve the function of the liver and therefore aid digestion, Globe Artichoke leaf extracts are currently popular in some European countries for the treatment of dyspepsia (indigestion). A number of studies have supported the effectiveness of this herb in relieving symptoms such as nausea, cramping, abdominal pain, flatulence and fat intolerance.