Milk Thistle is a prickly plant that has distinctive purple flowers and white veins, which traditional stories say were caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk falling onto its leaves. The active ingredients in milk thistle are a group of plant compounds collectively known as silymarin, which is known to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
BOTANICAL NAME: SILYBUM MARIANUM
Synonyms: Artichaut Sauvage, Blessed Milk Thistle, Cardo Lechoso, Cardui Mariae Fructus, Cardui Mariae Herba, Carduus Marianum, Carduus marianus, Chardon Argenté, Chardon de Marie, Chardon de Notre-Dame, Chardon Marbré, Chardon-Marie, Épine Blanche, Holy Thistle, Lady’s Thistle, Lait de Notre-Dame, Legalon, Marian Thistle, Mariendistel, Mary Thistle, Our Lady’s Thistle, Shui Fei Ji, Silibinin, Silybe de Marie, Silybin, Silybum, Silymarin, Silymarine, St. Mary Thistle, St. Marys Thistle.
Family: Asteraceae, Compositae
Parts Used: Seeds
Background: Milk Thistle is indicated for liver health. Numerous clinical studies have confirmed milk thistle’s ability to detoxify, cleanse and regenerate the liver and its tissue. Milk thistle has been used by Herbalists for thousands of years to strengthen the liver, helping to protect against alcohol and pollutants.
This herb assists the body in two ways; it aids liver cell membranes to inhibit the penetration of toxins into cells, and provides nutritional support for the production and maintenance of healthy liver cells.
Therapeutic Uses: With increasing rates of drug and alcohol abuse, and the amount of exposure to synthetic chemicals in the environment, our livers are under a great deal of stress. Unfortunately, without a healthy liver, no one can hope to lead a long healthy life.
Milk Thistle is a wondrous herb. It is the only known medicinal product that repairs damaged liver tissue, thanks to the plant’s ability to activate the liver’s regenerative capacities.
Compounds in this thorny plant also protect liver cells from the damage associated with toxic substances. These include drugs (illicit, pharmaceutical, and over-the-counter) and their associated side-effects, alcohol, chemicals, and pollutants. Silymarin, the active constituent in this herb, blocks cell receptor sites where toxins normally bind, thereby inhibiting their negative action.
Milk Thistle increases bile flow from the liver and gall bladder. Thus, it is considered therapeutic in all problems associated with the gall bladder. Nursing mothers also benefit from milk thistle as this herbal’s seeds promote milk production and secretion.
Milk Thistle is used clinically to treat recovering alcoholics and those suffering from asthma, chronic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Other scientific investigations found this herb effective against many forms of toxic liver damage. This compound is also a proven antioxidant, which aids to remove oxidizing agents from the delicate liver organ.