Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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artichoke (engl.); cynara scolymus

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One of the oldest vegetable plants in the world belonging to the composite family . Cultivated as a vegetable plant in the Mediterranean area and in many other countries. Already known to the Greeks and Romans. Introduced to Central Europe around the 16th century, later also to America.

Field of application/use
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Cynara scolymus contains phenolic carboxylic acids, in particular (about 15) derivatives of caffeic acid and cyanarin, as well as various other compounds. Bitter substances such as the sesquiterpene lactone cynaropikrin, furthermore various other compounds. flavonoids and monsaccharides.

Medical use: Artichoke extracts are available in more than 40 ready-to-use preparations (e.g. juice, tincture) as lipid reducers and to stimulate bile production.

The diuretic and choleretic effect is attributed to the ingredient cynarin.

Because of their bitterness, extracts of artichoke are processed into liqueur wine in Spain and Italy as a stimulant of stomach secretion (aperitif).

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Preparation-specific, generally 3x300mg dry extract.

Undesirable effects
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Up to seven sesquiterpene lactones are present in the artichoke. The sensitising effect has so far only been shown for cynaropizine and Grosheimin. Sensitizing potency: Medium strong. Frequency of sensitization: Occasional.

Clinical picture
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A variety of cross-reactions to 49 different other composite species, including chrysanthemum, arnica, chamomile and pyrethrum, have been observed in artichoke pickers with occupational allergic contact dermatitis. Composite allergy sufferers are therefore also at risk of recurrence on contact with artichokes. Hand eczema is frequent.


Last updated on: 29.10.2020