Today my friends I would like to discuss a herb that is known for its miraculous potent ability for liver aliments, which is “Milk Thistle”. This herb has been used for over 2,000 years and is still a popular natural herbal remedy for liver conditions and numerous other health issues. I will give you some history, and as much information about Milk Thistle as I can, so that you can decide if this herb could have benefits for you or your family.
Milk Thistle is a flowering plant from the daisy family and they are native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. This herb is closely related to the artichoke.
This amazing natural herbal remedy has many health benefits that comes from the seeds that are packed inside the flower which is prickly and purplish color and is actually is quite attractive. This herb acquired its name Milk Thistle from two features of the leaves. One is that the leaves are colored with white splashes and the second is that they contain a white milky sap. It is the seeds of the plant that have most of the medicinal properties and the active ingredient in Milk thistle is Silymarin a complex antioxidant bioflavinoids.
According to studies Silymarin has the unique antioxidant complex that has the curative power to stimulate a regeneration of damaged liver cells. Silymarin protects the outer receptor sites of cells, stops toxins from breaking through fatty cell membranes, invading the inside of the cells, and any toxic substance that does get into the cells is neutralizes.
Health Benefits of Milk Thistle:
1. Detoxification: One reason this herb is so beneficial is because the liver is one of the most critical organs to human health and survival. Did you realize that the liver has more than 300 hundred functions in the body to help detoxify against chemical and environmental pollutants and promotes metabolic function? Milk thistle is so important to rid you body of the constant stress of more than 70,000 chemicals that our bodies are exposed to daily. Milk thistle helps protect the liver by absorption of many toxins and pollutants and prevents them from entering circulation into the bloodstream.
2. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: Researchers have found that the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties is concentrated in hepatic tissue very soon after consumption. It stimulates a regeneration of injured and damaged liver cells. It also neutralizes toxic substances that manage to go inside the cells. Silymarin can destroy free radicals that are present in the body. If free radicals are not destroyed, they will interfere with our metabolic reactions and cause them to slow down.
3. Chronic Liver Disease: Used to treat chronic liver disease such as damage from alcohol, liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation), toxin-induced liver damage including the prevention of severe liver damage from Amanita phalloides (‘death cap’ mushroom poisoning), and gallbladder disorders. This is very effective supplement to stop and even reverse the effects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which affects as many as 1/3 or the population.
4. Treat Diabetes: Because Milk Thistle helps to improve liver function and regulate the utilization of insulin which leads to improved control of diabetes. Researchers believe that better liver function results in a better glucose and lipid metabolism. Silymarin has also been used potentially, in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
5. Stops Damage from Medication and Drugs: Milk thistle can be used in an attempt to protect the liver from the potential damage of medications like acetaminophen, cholesterol-lowering status drugs and the seizure medicine, phenytoin, in fact there is over 900 known drugs that induce liver damage. It also helps to reduce the liver damaging effects of chemotherapeutic drugs in the fight against cancer.
6. Helps with Cancer: Silymarin interferes with the growth and prevents spreading of cancer cells in certain types of cancer such a breasts, cervix, and prostrate. Milk thistle has also been used to fight against numerous malignancies in the liver, colon, and skin, with much success.
7. It helps to lower cholesterol: Milk thistle can increase the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in your blood and help lower the LDL. The potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in Milk Thistle help to metabolize build up of cholesterol in the cavities of the arteries and can prevent oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels, thereby removing them from the arteries of the body which would potentially lead to arteriosclerosis.
8. Immune enhancing effect: Milk thistle has immune boosting properties that boost immunity, but do not over-stimulate the immune system. Instead, they help regulate an overactive immune system, minimizing allergic response.
10. Good for the Skin: Milk thistle aids in healing acne and eczema and moisturizes the skin giving you a healthy glow, while healing redness and inflammation. It also moistens and soothes mucus membranes.
Increasing research is being undertaken on the physiological effects, therapeutic properties and possible medical uses of milk thistle. Milk thistle appears to be very safe, with tests showing no significant drug interactions and relatively high tolerance levels. Mild stomach upset is the only documented side effect.
Milk thistle is approved in the German Commission E Monographs for inflammatory liver conditions. These monographs, compiled for the licensed medical prescription of botanical in Germany, rank among the world’s most respected and definitive evaluations of the safety and efficacy of various herbs and phytonutrient interventions.
I trust this information has been beneficial and that if you or anyone in your family has any of these conditions that you would consider Milk Thistle or even take it for preventative purposes to protect your body against all the environmental pollutants that we face daily. Remember always discuss it with your health-care provider before taking any supplement or medication.