2000 years, physicians in many cultures have prescribed the
juice of the milk thistle plant for various liver ailments and
to treat and prevent gallstones. As has been the case with many
‘folkoric’ remedies, modern science and medicine bears out the
traditional use and beliefs.
thistle is a purple flower that grows wild along both the east
and west coasts of the United States. The medicinal properties,
concentrated in the seeds and fleshy leaves, include relieving
inflammation and cleaning toxins from the liver and the body.
In fact, extract of milk thistle is regularly used in hospitals
to counteract the toxins in the amanita mushroom.
Milk Thistle Does:
active ingredients in milk thistle extract are mostly flavonoids,
including silymarin, silybin, isosilybin, and silibinin. They
have proven effectiveness in protecting the liver from damage,
and in helping the liver to heal itself. The authors of a 2002
study (J Herb Pharm) about the use of milk thistle in treating
cirrhosis of the liver reported that “Although the mechanism
of action is not fully understood, one explanation may be that
it (silymarin) concentrates in the hepatocytes and competes with
toxins for hepatocyte binding and penetration.”
words, it functions by chemically binding itself to liver cells
and prevent the absorption of toxic substances by the liver. In
addition, there have been multiple studies in Germany to examine
the effectiveness of silibinin, a component of milk thistle, in
the treatment and prevention of prostate and bladder cancer,
with extremely positive results.
been suggested that regular use of milk thistle extract as a
supplement may protect the liver from damage caused by free
radicals and heavy metals, and keep it functioning at its
Health Benefits of Milk Thistle:
thistle and its components protect the liver from damage and
keep it functioning in top condition. Specifically:
thistle prevents scarring and damage from cirrhosis and other
thistle, specifically silibinin, prevents prostate and bladder
cancer, and may be helpful in reducing the chance of other types
of cancer, including lung cancer and colon cancer.
thistle, applied topically, reduces the inflammation and
irritation that accompanies psoriasis.
thistle is recommended for patients undergoing chemotherapy as a
protectant against the harmful side effects of anti-cancer
thistle is an accepted antidote for poisoning by the amanita
Possible Side Effects of Milk Thistle
are no reported side effects with the use of milk thistle.
Because the liver is the second largest organ in our bodies
(second only to the skin), and is responsible for sifting out
all the toxins in the foods that we eat, a healthy liver is
vital to a healthy body. Many nutritionists recommend a daily
supplement that contains milk thistle to help protect the liver
and kidneys from the ravages of today’s toxic society. Its
proven ability to protect and heal the liver make milk thistle
an ideal treatment to help the body’s ability to heal and
protect itself from environmental pollutants like mercury and
lead, as well as from the effects of alcohol and other chemicals
found in our foods.