Cardoon leaves come from the cardoon plant. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) belongs to the Compositae family. Cardoon is also sometimes called artichoke thistle or wild artichoke. Cardoon is native to continental Europe, including the Mediterranean region. Cardoon now grows throughout the United Kingdom and in the southern United States and is often considered a weed. 1
Cardoon is a perennial, spiny thistle. In the summer, cardoon produces a bright purple flower head. It also has claw-like bracts that wrap around the flower head. These claws resemble the arrangement of artichoke leaves, which is where the name artichoke thistle comes from. 2
Cardoon leaves are a silver-grey color. They are large lobe-shaped leaves that have spiny and woolly hairs along the underside of the leaves. 2
Cardoon Leaves Health Uses and Health Benefits
Cardoon leaves health benefits come from its active compound called cynarin. Cynarin is becoming a popular substance for medicinal purposes because of its numerous health benefits. Research has shown that cynarin contained in cardoon leaves is beneficial for managing cholesterol levels and providing a detoxifying effect. 3
Additionally, cardoon leaves are also high in vitamin C and phytonutrients.This makes cardoon leaves a potentially powerful antioxidant, especially for helping to filter and detoxify the body and fight against free radical damage. Cardoon leaves also contain silymarin, which has been studied in its uses for controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics. 3,4
Cardoon leaves uses include being a natural remedy for the following conditions:
- Rheumatism - Traditional cardoon leaves uses include treating rheumatic symptoms such as joint pain and inflammation.
- Liver Disease - The natural detoxifying benefits of cardoon leaves can help improve liver health when damaged by liver diseases.
- High Cholesterol (Hypercholesterolemia) - Cardoon leaves have been studied for their benefits in helping to lower high cholesterol levels.
- Eczema (Dermatitis) - Using cardoon leaves as a topical treatment can help to reduce skin irritation and inflammation caused by eczema.
- Hepatitis - Cardoon leaves can help to treat hepatitis by supporting liver health with detoxifying benefits.
Cardoon Leaves Side Effects and Precautions
There are no known cardoon leaves side effects. However, it’s important to consult a professional herbalist before taking cardoon leaves to treat any condition, including liver diseases.