Artichoke leaf extract has been studied as a bile secretion stimulant and primarily recommended in this way for non-ulcer dyspepsia.
A double-blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial of 247 patients with functional dyspepsia (persistent or recurrent pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen with one or more of the following symptoms: early satiety, postprandial fullness, bloating, and nausea) found that treatment with two capsules of 320 mg artichoke leaf extract LI 220 (HeparSL(R) forte) taken three times daily significantly improved overall symptoms over the 6 weeks compared with the placebo (Holtmann et al 2003). Additionally, active treatment significantly improved global QOL scores compared with the placebo.
A randomised, open study of 454 subjects investigated the efficacy of a low-dose artichoke leaf extract (320 mg or 640 mg daily) on amelioration of dyspeptic symptoms and improvement of QOL (Marakis et al 2002). Both doses achieved a significant reduction of all dyspeptic symptoms, with an average reduction of 40% in global dyspepsia score. Although no differences in primary outcome measures were reported between the two treatment groups, the higher dosage resulted in greater improvements in anxiety.
An uncontrolled study of 553 patients with non-specific digestive disorders (dyspeptic discomforts, functional biliary colic, and severe constipation) experienced a significant reduction of symptoms after 6 weeks of treatment with artichoke extract. Symptoms improved by an average of 70.5%, with strongest effects on vomiting (88.3%), nausea (82.4%), abdominal pain (76.2%), loss of appetite (72.3%), constipation (71.0%), flatulence (68.2%), and fat intolerance (58.8%). In 85% of patients the global therapeutic efficacy of artichoke extract was judged by the physicians as excellent or good. (Fintelmann 1996).
The German Commission E approves artichoke leaf and preparations made from artichoke leaf as a choleretic agent for dyspeptic problems (Blumenthal et al 2000).
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