(Silybum marianum) A natural remedy making its way to treat a range of health conditions. Silymarin, being its active ingredient or medicinal compound is mainly used to address liver problems. So, what makes Milk Thistle stand out as an herbal remedy? This prickly flowering plant with purple flowers, spiny branched stems and white lines is of the same family as with daisy. The extract coming out from the leaves when ripped or crushed, is a milky white liquid which is known as Milk thistle or Mary Thistle.
Around 65 to 80% of Silymarin is what makes up the Milk thistle extract. This is known to have a rich-antioxidant and antiviral properties. It is widely used to treat liver and gallbladder diseases. Some other known benefits and usage are increase in breast milk production, promotes skin and bone health, improves cognition and boosts overall immune system.
It is an antifibrotic, which help prevent tissues from being scarred. It also constrains the attaching of toxins to our liver cell membrane. Silymarin also increases glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant that is essential to detoxifying the liver. It is also found to be of help in regenerating liver cells. Management of healthy cholesterol levels is also being supported by the use of milk thistle.
Studies also show that Silymarin aids in promoting cell repair, reduces inflammation and boost levels of the crucial antioxidant enzyme glutathione and reduces liver scarring. Milk thistle as a powerful liver cleanser serves as an effective toxicity reverser in the body. Some of the most common liver diseases which Silymarin helps to ease the symptoms of are: cirrhosis, liver cancer, jaundice and fatty liver diseases.
Heart Health – Silymarin also aids in lowering blood pressure. As high cholesterol is known to lead to problems with heart health, several studies suggest that taking Milk thistle plays an important role iin lowering the cholesterol by reducing inflammation, blood cleansing, and also aids to prevent oxidative stress damage within the arteries. The extract has high content of beneficial fatty acids and omega 3s which are known to be useful for maintaining a healthy heart.
Diabetes – Studies show that milk thistle helps in diabetes management. Silymarin along with conventional treatment have been shown to lower blood sugar levels, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides in diabetics. It plays an integral part in helping with glycemic control. Insulin is in-charge of managing our sugar levels and our liver is relatively responsible for regulating the hormones, which includes the release of insulin into the bloodstream. Hence, it is likely true that Silymarin helps decrease blood sugar levels.
Gallstones – When cholesterol and other substance within the bile combine, it forms gallstones. Because of Silymarin’s known aid in liver and gallbladder detoxification and increase in bile flow, it is also found useful in preventing gallstones. It purifies our body of metabolic waste, hence, improving the function of our kidney, spleen and of course, the gallbladder. This purification will help prevent the risk of gallstones.
Anti-aging effects – Milk thistle is rich in antioxidant which support the prevention of free radical damage in the body. It lengthens the aging process by helping to remove the waste and pollutants from the blood. True enough, the antioxidant properties of the milk thistle make it great for diminishing visible signs of aging and promotes a healthy glow.
Bone Health – The Silymarin in Milk thistle has been proven to have multiple health benefits, one of which is that it increases bone mineral density. The anti-hepatotoxic properties contribute to more bone deposition which slows down bone resorption leading to improved bone density. Several studies revealed that there is an overall less progression of bone loss, usually caused by estrogen deficiency with the help of milk thistle. Age-related bone disorders are also being addressed when milk thistle is being incorporated into a person’s diet.
Protects the Brain – Neutralizes free radicals in the brain and reduces damage to the brain cells, these are the known health gains from Milk thistle extract. Some brain-protective benefits from the extract or Silymarin are believed to reduce oxidative stress in the brain which is a potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease. This also boosts stress resilience and defense mechanisms.
Keep Healty – As it is believed that milk thistle has a laxative effect, it is also found to be useful in achieving water weight loss. Aside from using Silymarin in blood sugar levels management, it also may help in decreasing body mass index.
As milk thistle is considered as a very safe herbal supplement, it is recommended to incorporate it to one’s diet but not to regulate it the same way as we do in medicinal drugs. With a healthy lifestyle and aid from this milk thistle supplement, one can enjoy a more fit and nourished life.