What is Milk Thistle?
Milk Thistle is a flowering plant that grows in the Mediterranean regions, and it comes from the same plant family as the daisy and ragweed. Its scientific name is Silybum marianum, and it is also known as Saint Mary’s thistle, blessed milk thistle, cardus marianus, and holy thistle.
Benefits of Milk Thistle
The main active ingredient of this plant is called silymarin, and it’s extracted from its seeds. Silymarin is an antioxidant and also anti inflammatory, and it is commonly used in herbal medicine mostly to treat liver conditions such as fatty liver, hepatitis, jaundice, gallbladder disorders, and cirrhosis of the liver.
Improves Liver Conditions:
One of the most popular benefits of milk thistle is its potential to improve liver conditions. A recent study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that it improved liver damage in mice. However medical research on people shows mixed results, some showed significant improvement while others showed little to no improvement on liver function. The active ingredient in milk thistle (silymarin) has detoxifying properties, which could explain why it id beneficial for liver issues.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Another mice research by the NCBI showed that mice that were put on a fatty diet which was supposed to make them gain weight, actually lost weight with milk thistle. This plant is also known for helping reduce insulin resistance, which is great because insulin resistance causes weight gain.
It can Limit the Spread of Cancer
A 2016 research suggests that this plant can limit the spread of some types of cancer by blocking the growth and spread of cancerous cells.
Helps Reduce Cholesterol and Boosts Immune System
It is believed Milk Thistle could lower cholesterol, which would result in lower risk of strokes. And studies on animals showed that constant consumption of this plant’s extract could also strengthen immunity.
Although further medical research is required to confirm the benefits of milk thistle on human health, it is safe to say that because of its NATURAL antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties it’s worth a try!
And if you are taking any prescribed medications, don’t forget to ask your doctor about possible interactions before taking any supplement, even if it is natural. Also, if you are allergic to plants in the asteraceae family, then you should not consume this plant at all.
Now, when it comes to choosing a brand, or ways to consume it, the most common way is capsules with extract of this plant. We recommend the following, which can be found on Amazon or your local Vitamin Supplement store:
Recommended Further Reading:
If you prefer natural and alternative medicine and want to learn about herbalism, medicinal properties of plants to prevent or help treat diseases, and plants and methods used by our ancestors before modern medicine existed, then definitely check out: The Lost Book of Natural Remedies (Paper and PDF versions available)