Cynara scolymus L., called artichoke or globe artichoke, is a perennial herbaceous plant cultivated worldwide. This plant is a common component of the Mediterranean diet and has been used as a remedy for health conditions since antiquity. The aim of this review is to find the health-promoting properties of artichoke, conducting a literature search in PubMed. The results show that 119 studies describe these effects and 17 health benefits of artichoke are reported in the scientific literature. Antioxidant activity and effects on the liver and lipid profile are the main health-promoting properties of this plant. We found that artichoke also improves cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health and exerts anticancer, antimetabolic and antiobesity, prebiotic and probiotic, renoprotective and antidiabetic activities. Only one or two research articles reported the positive effects of this plant on the immune system, arthritis, photoaging, the reproductive system, the nervous system, fungal infections and periodontal diseases. The health benefits are mainly exerted by phenolics. In conclusion, this review shows the health-promoting properties of artichoke. The main beneficial effects are antioxidant activity and effects on lipid profile and the liver, which are mainly mediated by phenolics. The results of the scientific articles described in this review and the molecular mechanisms related to the health benefits of artichoke should be confirmed by future experimental studies.
Keywords: Artichoke, Cynara scolymus L., Antioxidant, Hepatoprotective, Lipid profile
Impact statement: Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) has many health benefits and the main properties are antioxidant activity and effects on the liver and lipid profile.