Globe artichoke is a species of thistle whose leaves are used in traditional European medicine to combat high cholesterol. It is used to stimulate the production and flow of bile in the liver and gallbladder. The liver produces bile salts by converting cholesterol into an acid and combining it with an amino acid (one of the building blocks of protein). The liver then secretes the bile into the gallbladder where it is stored until it is needed by the small intestine to break down dietary fats for absorption into the body. Dietary fats are essential for many of the body’s functions. This whole process is vital for the regulation of cholesterol in the body. The liver produces approximately 75% of all of the cholesterol in the body. When the cholesterol levels become too high, specifically LDL (low density lipoprotein) levels, there is more cholesterol being transported away from the liver. This will eventually lead to plaquing of the arteries and cardiovascular disease. HDL (high density lipoprotein) transports cholesterol back to the liver to be used to make bile. By stimulating more bile production, globe artichoke is able to decrease the amount of cholesterol in the body. A German study showed that 1800 mg of artichoke extract per day for 6 weeks significantly lowered total cholesterol by 18.5% compared to only 8.6% in the placebo group. It also significantly lowered LDL 22.9% compared to 6% in the placebo group. There were no adverse effects noted in any of the study participants.