Is Artichoke Leaf Extract Safe?

Artichoke leaf extract allegedly helps treat several conditions, but is artichoke leaf extract safe to use? The product is a dietary supplement and is, therefore, not as closely regulated as compared to prescription and non-prescription medications. Although some small studies indicate that artichoke leaf extract is safe, larger studies are needed to determine possible side effects.

Is Artichoke Leaf Extract Safe? -- An Overview

Artichoke leaf extract is an herbal supplement that is claimed to be beneficial for a number of uses, such as treating high cholesterol. However, you should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking it if you have:
  • Gallstones
  • Liver or gallbladder disease
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions With Artichoke Leaf Extract

Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning artichoke leaf extract include the following:
  • In general, some small studies have indicated that artichoke leaf extract is fairly safe and unlikely to cause serious side effects. However, larger studies are needed in order to determine the specific side effects. Until these studies are performed, it should not be assumed that artichoke leaf extract is completely safe.
  • Theoretically, artichoke leaf extract could make gallstones or some other gallbladder or liver problems worse. Therefore, if you have any of these problems, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking the extract.
  • Artichoke leaf extract is a dietary supplement and is, therefore, not as closely regulated as prescription and non-prescription drugs. Also, it can be marketed without any proof that it is either safe or effective. Do not assume that just because it is sold in the United States that it is safe or effective. Also, look for an artichoke leaf extract product that is made by a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable.
  • It is not known if artichoke leaf extract interacts with other supplements or drugs (see Artichoke Leaf Extract Drug Interactions).
  • It is not known if artichoke leaf extract is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Artichoke Leaf Extract and Pregnancy and Artichoke Leaf Extract and Breastfeeding).
  • People who are allergic to chrysanthemums, daisies, ragweed, or marigolds may also be allergic to artichoke leaf extract.
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