Milk thistle benefits the human body in many ways, some more recently discovered. It is a flowering herb that is related to ragweed and the daisy. The purple plant has a short stem with spines and wide leaves that have white veins and blotches and can grow up to ten feet high. It is native to the Mediterranean but grows in the United States and South America as well. But how can the benefits of milk thistle come from such a seemingly simple and unassuming plant?
How Does Milk Thistle Work?
Silymarin is the primary active ingredient of milk thistle herb. Silymarin is a powerful anti inflammatory agent and antioxidant. The antioxidant property provides milk thistle benefits which include protecting the human body from cellular damage caused by free radicals. Milk thistle also motivates other antioxidant compounds such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione.
Milk Thistle Liver Detox
Milk thistle detoxification provides protection from toxins as well as healing by promoting cell regeneration. This is important since liver problems can cause serious medical conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice. The milk thistle benefits from detoxification can prevent and sometimes reverse some liver conditions by helping it carry out normal function and rejuvenation. Liver detox with milk thistle can include ingestion of one tablespoon of ground milk thistle seeds two times a day. The ground seeds can be sprinkled over salads, in soups or made into smoothies. Pre-made detoxification formulas can be purchased in tincture, liquid and capsule form.
Additional Milk Thistle Benefits
There are new benefits of milk thistle being discovered each year. Among these include:
- Help removing liver damage caused by several industrial toxins like xylene and toluene.
- Research has shown that among the many milk thistle benefits is its ability to work with traditional treatments to reduce symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Milk thistle works along with medication, diet and exercises to lower blood sugar levels and improves insulin resistance. Because diabetes is a serious disease and should be closely monitored. People should not begin milk thistle therapy until a doctor determines its effect on the blood sugar level and reaction to medication.
- Milk thistle is said to be helpful to the heart by lowering the LDL in so called “bad” cholesterol levels. Studies of this benefit have so far only been tested on people with diabetes, who usually have high cholesterol. Further studies on otherwise healthy people are slated to be performed in the future.
- Other milk thistle benefits include the possibility that it can be used to fight cancer cell growth in the breasts, prostate and cervix. Milk thistle has been shown to help with the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
- Milk thistle stimulates the flow of bile which is very helpful in the prevention and treatment of gallstones.
Among the interesting facts about this plant is that it is also known as Mary thistle and holy thistle. In some places in the world it is considered be a weed; in others it is eaten for food. Milk thistle benefits related to health have been utilized dating back to ancient Greek history. The use of milk thistle to treat the liver has been practiced in Chinese medicine for 2000 years. As a final note you might want to make sure to have a proper dosage to and be on the lookout of the rare milk thistle side effects, just in case.