Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) a miraculous green

Among all known herbal remedies, Milk Thistle finds its place as the leader in herbs to treat liver disease. Milk thistle is a flower, more specifically a member of the Aster family, Milk thistle has been found in recent years to be major player in the treatment of liver disease. The botanical name for milk thistle is Silybum marianum. Milk thistle is also called holy thistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, St. Mary thistle, Our Lady’s thistle, wild artichoke; it is a tall plant, characterized by sharp spines that resemble artichokes and leaves that are riddled with distinctive white veins. It was originally discovered growing in the Kashmir region bordering India and Pakistan. It can now be found all over the temperate world, growing in dry and rocky soil. Its stems and leaves secrete a milky substance when crushed. The following sections contain important information regarding this popular herb. It is important to be aware that some preparations of milk thistle may contain iron therefore milk thistle should be avoided by people with liver diseases associated with iron overload such as hemochromatosis and some cases of chronic hepatitis C.

Its seed and roots have been used for an assortment of medical purpose. The major use of Milk thistle come for liver disease because it helps lower enzyme levels and facilitates the liver in its process of detoxifying the body.

Physicians have prescribed Milk Thistle for Hepatitis to keep down inflammation, Cirrhosis to soften the liver, Liver Cancer to aid in detoxification, and many dysfunctions of the Gall Bladder System. It also helps protect the liver for those individuals that are taking prescription medications known to elevate liver enzymes.                                                                                                                                         Silymarin is the key constituent in Milk Thistle Seed. Three biochemicals of interest have been isolated from the Milk thistle: – silybin, silychristin, silydianin, isosilybinin which are also called “silybinin” and are considered the most powerful of them all. The mixture of these substances is called “Sylimarin”.silymarin has been traditionally used in the treatment of liver disease and, while it has recently been advocated for use in pets, most scientific information available concerns human use. Most research has studied silymarin or its major compound silybin, instead of the plant in its whole form. Milk thistle does not easily dissolve in water; its purported benefits cannot be reaped by drinking it as a tea or by eating the leaves. The best way to take milk thistle is either in capsule form, especially from concentrate, or in a form that combines it with other substances—such as beta-cyclodextrin or phosphatidylcholine (silipide)—that render milk thistle more soluble in water. In this way, milk thistle becomes more bioavailable to the body, and its effects are maximized. The concentration of silymarin is highest in the seeds of the plant, although it is also found in the fruit and leaves. The biological mechanism of action is yet unknown but several theories exist:                                                                                                                                                       The mixture of silymarin is a polyphenolic antioxidant, is derived from the milk thistle plant Silymarin is only soluble in Alcohol and not water, thus making an alcohol extract the preferred medium of extraction. Much research has been done on Silymarin and at this time the only known source is the Milk Thistle Seed.


 This herb is wonderful and appropriate for anyone who is under stress, uses alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription medications, or lives in today’s modern times of pesticides, environmental toxins, and pollution? Virtually every person in an industrial nation. One of the special qualities of Milk Thistle is that it cleanses and detoxifies an overburdened and stagnant liver while also being able to strengthen and notify a weak liver; thus, delivering potent medicine to clogged, excess conditions as well as to weakened deficient conditionals. One of the tasks of the liver is to cleanse the blood. If the liver energy is stagnant it will be unable to effectively cleanse the blood; this can result in skin problems ranging from acne to psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. Milk Thistle is a powerful herb for supporting the liver to purify the blood and is one of the best herbs for the skin disorders mentioned above. It is also effective for treating congestion of the kidneys, spleen, and pelvic region.

Milk Thistle protects and regenerates the liver in most liver diseases such as Cirrhosis (hardening of the Liver), Jaundice and Hepatitis, (inflammation of the Liver), and Cholangitis (inflammation of bile ducts resulting in decreased bile flow). It is one of the best examples of preventative medicine that we have today as it not only protects each cell of the liver from incoming toxins, but simultaneously encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances, such as alcohol, drugs, medications, mercury and heavy metals, pesticides, anesthesia, and even the most poisonous of mushrooms, the Amanita or Death-cap mushroom.

Herbalists claim that milk thistle achieves the above in three different ways: First, milk thistle is said to strengthen the outer protective membrane of liver cells so that they are better at deflecting toxins. Second, milk thistle is said to shield the liver from free radicals, which are potentially dangerous, yet inevitable byproducts of some of the body’s basic metabolic functions. And finally, milk thistle is said to stimulate the production of new liver cells to replace old damaged ones. This section will examine some of the evidence that forms the basis for each of these alleged properties of milk thistle.

Most reports on milk thistle claim that there is a total lack of side effects when taking this herb. However, on close review of the literature, the following side effects were noted: headache, irritability, nausea, minor gastrointestinal upset, and, most commonly, diarrhea. These side effects are similar to those commonly encountered in connection with the use of interferon (the FDA-approved treatment for hepatitis B and C). One experimental study, which has not been duplicated, demonstrated that liver cell damage occurred as a result of exposing liver cells to milk thistle. The long-term side effects of milk thistle usage are not known.

With milk thistle, as with all herbal remedies, there is no standard recommended dose  or length of time to take the herb in order to best achieve its purported benefits. Recommendations made on labels and in herbal publications vary—from as low as 70 milligrams twice per day to as high as 420 milligrams three times per day. Recommendations for duration of use range from one month to as long as nine months. There are no standard recommendations as to the best time of day to take the herb or whether to take it with food as opposed to on an empty stomach. The PDR for Herbal Medicines recommends 200 to 400 milligrams of silymarin daily, but contains no additional recommendations regarding its use.

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