Milk thistle is an herb that has been around for hundreds of years, yet it is still relatively unknown in the U.S. So, what’s the scoop on milk thistle?
This herb has many detoxifying properties, especially for the kidneys, liver, and lymphatic system. It has been traditionally used to help treat fatty liver, assist with weight loss, combat toxicity, fight and help remedy liver disease, and reduce chronic inflammation.
Where does milk thistle come from?
Milk thistle herb comes from the plant known as Silybum marianum, and its active ingredient, known as silymarin, is the chemical extracted from the seeds. The milk thistle plant is in the same family as sunflower and daisy, and has a beautiful reddish purple flower. It originally hails from the Mediterranean, though it now grows in many parts of the world.
It has been used in natural and alternative medicine for hundreds of years as a way to improve liver health, and today you can find it in any health-food store in the form of a supplement.
Benefits of milk thistle
Milk thistle has been used to aid with cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol poisoning, liver disease, general cleansing, and even cancer throughout the ages. However, it is important to note that scientific evidence shows mixed results as to whether it’s effective enough to be a solid, sole treatment for these issues.
This herb may, however, help improve daily liver function to aid in the reduction of everyday toxins, and it may help prevent fatty liver, liver disease, and cirrhosis in someone with an already healthy diet. Milk thistle has also been shown to help improve liver toxicity from alcohol poisoning. It stimulates bile flow to assist with liver health, and aids in the overall detoxification and destruction of toxins.
Milk thistle may also go a step further to repair liver cells and fight inflammation that has occurred from liver poisoning or toxicity. These benefits may lead to better health and have a dramatic effect on the overall aging process.
How milk thistle may help with weight loss
Our liver is our primary fat-burning organ, and if it is not functioning at its best, we will not feel our best. When we eat toxic foods, drink excess alcohol, and live an unhealthy lifestyle, our liver function slows down. While certain foods can improve liver health, such as greens, beets, and other root vegetables like daikon, certain herbs can also be helpful for boosting liver function further.
Milk thistle is the most commonly recommended natural herbal supplement for liver problems, and is found in many detoxification supplements for this very reason.
Milk thistle is also a potent antioxidant which may help to aid the body with weight loss and regular detoxification. The stronger the body’s defense mechanisms, the better the metabolism can function, and the less work the body has to do to fight off disease.
Milk thistle may also improve overall digestion, another important part of weight loss and metabolism. It works by speeding up the removal of toxins so less work is placed on all the elimination organs of the body. This results in a faster metabolism, more energy, and enhanced weight loss. Remember, the better the liver works, the better it can metabolize fat.
Best forms of milk thistle to use
Milk thistle is found in many different over-the-counter detox pills, teas, and tinctures. Like any herbal supplement, however, you should always look for those that are certified non-GMO and regulated by GMP (good manufacturing practices). Always buy from reputable companies — doing your research and asking around is essential.
It may be best for liver health to avoid alcohol tinctures. Choose a pure tea or tincture instead.
Potential side effects
The side effects of milk thistle are rare, however, if you overdose you may experience nausea, digestive upset, or rashes. Milk thistle may trigger an allergic reaction if you suffer from ragweed allergies. Always talk to your health-care practitioner before implementing milk thistle into your routine.
If you have ever had problems with your liver and wanted a more natural treatment than prescription drugs, or have general sluggishness and a slow metabolism, you may wish to look into milk thistle a little further to see if it’s right for you. It’s one of the most common herbs for overall detoxification, and is a favorite among many natural health specialists.
If you’ve ever used this natural remedy for better liver health, what benefits have you experienced?
—The Alternative Daily