Do you suffer from liver problems, or are you simply looking for natural ways to detoxify your body? There is one herb that you may want to keep an eye on – milk thistle. Here are a few things you should know about this beneficial herb.
Milk Thistle Image 1
Milk thistle is a herb that has been traditionally used for centuries to treat liver problems, ranging from jaundice to hepatitis. The herb got its name from the milky sap that oozes out when the leaves are crushed.
However, milk thistle is not just popular for its therapeutic properties. Its seeds are also a rich source of silymarin, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Silymarin works by increasing the production of glutathione – a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect liver cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage.
If you are still not convinced, here are some more reasons why milk thistle should be on your radar if you are looking for natural liver support:
Milk Thistle Image 2
1) Milk thistle supplement can help improve liver function:
Milk thistle has been found to have a hepatoprotective effect, meaning it can help to protect the liver from damage and support liver function. A review of 13 randomized controlled trials found that milk thistle supplementation was associated with significant improvements in liver function tests and a decreased risk of liver complications in patients with liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
2) Milk thistle can protect the liver from toxins:
Several studies have shown that milk thistle can protect the liver from damage caused by toxins such as alcohol, drugs, and environmental pollutants. In one study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, milk thistle was found to significantly reduce liver damage caused by carbon tetrachloride – a potent liver toxin.
3) Milk thistle can aid in the treatment of obesity:
Obesity is a known risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver. Milk thistle has been found to have anti-obesity effects and can help to improve insulin resistance – a major factor in the development of NAFLD. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that milk thistle extract reduced body weight, cholesterol levels, and inflammation in obese mice.
4) Milk thistle may help to prevent cancer:
Milk thistle may also have anti-cancer properties. Silymarin, the active compound in milk thistle, has been found to inhibit the growth of various cancer cells, including prostate, breast, and cervical cancer cells. One study published in the journal Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals found that silymarin inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells in mice.
5) Milk thistle can lower cholesterol levels:
High cholesterol is another risk factor for NAFLD and other liver diseases. Milk thistle has been found to have cholesterol-lowering effects, which may help to reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and other liver problems. A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that milk thistle supplementation resulted in significant reductions in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in patients with hyperlipidemia.
Now that you know about the benefits of milk thistle, it’s important to note that the herb is generally safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. However, as with any supplement, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking milk thistle, especially if you are pregnant or taking medications.
1) Is milk thistle safe for everyone?
Milk thistle is generally safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. However, people who are allergic to plants in the same family as milk thistle (such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, and marigolds) may be allergic to milk thistle as well.
2) Can milk thistle help to treat liver disease?
Milk thistle has been found to have hepatoprotective effects and can help to improve liver function in people with liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis. However, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of milk thistle in the treatment of liver disease.
3) What is the recommended dose of milk thistle?
The recommended dose of milk thistle varies depending on the specific product and the reason for use. However, typical doses range from 200-600 mg per day.
4) Can milk thistle interact with medications?
Milk thistle may interact with certain medications, including statins, blood thinners, and drugs metabolized by the liver. If you are taking any medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking milk thistle.