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Milk Thistle: Benefits and Side Effects

in All , Food , Health Care , Nutrition

Milk thistle is considered a natural herb possessing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Milk thistle typically grows in California, and it has got a scientific name called Silybummarianum. It detoxifies the body and enhances gallbladder and liver health.

What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle is an herb, and it is considered as a demulcent, hepatic, cholagogue, and galactogogue. Milk thistle is considered the common and natural supplement used for liver disorders as it provides many health benefits.

Additionally, milk thistle performs a variety of functions such as increases bile production, soothes mucous membranes in the body, promotes healthy digestion, and decreases inflammation.

Its name came from a milky white liquid that comes along when leaves get crushed. The leaves of its plant also contain a white pattern on them, which looks similar to milk appearance.

The other names of milk thistle include silybum, St. Mary’s thistle, and holy thistle.

Milk Thistle Uses and Benefits

1.     Milk Thistle for Liver Detoxification

Milk thistle also acts as a liver detoxifier and liver cleanser by eliminating toxins out of the body. It also reduces damage caused by toxins in the liver and helps in rebuilding new liver cells.

Milk thistle works effectively against toxicity within the body that includes pesticides in food, heavy metals found in water, adverse effects of alcohol, and pollutants in the air.

Milk thistle has been used to treat many liver diseases for a long time which include:

  • Toxins-induced liver diseases
  • Acute or chronic viral hepatitis
  • Alcohol-based liver disease

2.     Silymarin for protection from Cancer

Milk thistle contains an antioxidant flavonoid called silymarin which is made up of many active compounds called flavolignans.

Silymarin has been found effective in fighting DNA damage, boosting up the immune system, and shifting the growth of cancerous tumors in the body, which all resultantly contribute to lowering the risk of cancer, including breast cancer.

Additionally, silymarin may also give protection against other types of cancer such as prostate and lung cancer, as reported by some animal and test-tube studies.

3.     Milk Thistle supplement for Lowering High Cholesterol

Milk thistle has been found to promote heart health. It works by cleaning up the blood, reduce inflammation, lower high cholesterol levels, and also prevent oxidative stress damage in the arteries.

More researches are required in this area.

Some preliminary studies indicate that silymarin, when combined with other traditional methods, contributes to improving the levels of triglycerides, overall cholesterol, and bad cholesterol (LDL).

4.     Control or Prevent Diabetes

The National Institute of Health states that some studies have indicated that taking silymarin found in milk thistle combined with other traditional methods may help in controlling symptoms of type 2diabetes.

Moreover, it can promote blood sugar control.

5.     Thistle milk supplement for preventing Gallstones

The liver is one of the important digestive organs which contribute to processing substances and toxins within the body, supplied through water, air, and food sources.

All the digestive organs, including the intestines, kidneys, gallbladder, and pancreas, work in collaboration to enhance liver health.

Milk thistle has also been found to prevent and reduce kidney and gallbladder stones.

Tea with milk thistle

It is safe to drink milk thistle tea in moderate amount, but if drinks it in excess amount, then it can cause allergic reactions. You can make milk thistle tea at home easily.

Side Effects of milk thistle

Milk thistle can cause some side effects, including gas, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and abdominal bloating.

Some less common side effects include sexual dysfunction, muscle, and joint pains. Some other allergic reactions can also occur.

People who are already allergic to kiwi, daisies, aster family plants, artichokes, and ragweed may have a possible allergic reaction to milk thistle as well.

In a very rare case, milk thistle may cause a fatal and all-over body allergy called anaphylaxis.

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