Nourish - What’s the Scoop On: Milk Thistle
Milk thistle (AKA Silybum marianum) is an herb native to southern Europe and southern Russia and has been used for thousands of years to support liver, kidney and gall bladder health. In particular, Milk thistle has been used to treat liver diseases like alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver poisoning, viral hepatitis, jaundice, as well as gallstones and even hangovers.
You can take milk thistle in many forms:
Tablet form – Try A.Vogel’s Milk Thistle Complex Tablets or Viridian’s Milk Thistle Herb & Seed tablets
Tincture form – Try Viridian’s Organic Milk Thistle tincture or Irish Botanica’s Milk Thistle Tincture
Or view all of our Milk Thistle products here.
Let’s delve in a little deeper shall we?
What are the Benefits of Milk Thistle?
No. 1 – Liver Protection and Regeneration
If you find you are always feeling tired, irritated, bloated, having skin breakouts such as acne, or perhaps perspiring constantly and feeling hot all the time, you may need some liver-love in your life.
Milk Thistle contains a range of therapeutic compounds known collectively as silymarin which is thought to be responsible for many of milk thistle’s beneficial effects, including its liver protection and restoration.
Milk Thistle is known to help prevent liver destruction and enhance liver function through its ability to prevent toxin-induced damage from toxic substances including alcohol, drugs and chemicals.
It also stimulates the growth of new liver cells to replace old damaged cells allowing for regeneration to occur.
No. 2 – Detoxification
Silymarin has been shown to increase glutathione production in the liver by around 30% which is big news considering that glutathione is known as your body’s most powerful antioxidant!
This increase in glutathione means significant detoxification capabilities. And why is this good? Well it helps to raise the liver’s detoxification potential in order for it to handle a wide range toxins that it comes into contact with, environmental toxins, drugs, alcohol, chemicals and hormones.
No. 3 – Antioxidant
Antioxidants are substances or nutrients found in our bodies and food that help to stop or slow down oxidative damage. Our bodies use oxygen to function, and as a result free radicals are produced. Free radicals are known to play a role in heart disease, stroke, arthritis, alcoholic liver damage and even the aging process.
Luckily, our body has a built-in defence system of antioxidants, which are molecules that scavenge and neutralize oxidants, clearing up the free radicals and helping to reduce their potential damage.
Due to silymarin’s ability to raise glutathione levels (aka the body’s most powerful antioxidant) in the liver, this greatly enhances the body’s ability to protect its cells from damage caused by harmful free-radicals.
No. 4 – Useful hangover cure/preventative
For anyone reading this who is keen on the ole glass of vino, followed by a couple too many more, this is one useful herb if you suffer from the inevitable hangover that follows!
You may find some solace in this herb for it has been traditionally used to relieve symptoms of overindulgence from both food and drink, allowing you to detox the unwanted toxins and make you feel more human!
No. 5 – Anti inflammatory
Milk thistle has anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce inflammation. This makes it especially important for people with liver inflammation or hepatitis, or for those suffering from an inflammation anywhere else in or on the body, such as inflammation of the intestine, skin rashes, acne, eczema or painful inflamed joints.
No. 6 – Aids Digestion
You can heal your digestive system by supporting your liver to work efficiently and effectively. A happy liver = happier digestion.
Milk Thistle is a bitter herb, and bitters help to stimulate, cleanse, and protect the liver and gall bladder, whilst also stimulating and supporting digestion. Milk thistle also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Particularly useful when you’re trying to keep your fingers out the biscuit tin!
Milk thistle increases the production of bile, a fluid created in the liver that helps break down fats in the small intestine. By aiding the breakdown of foods, milk thistle may help to relieve constipation, including constipation in IBS.
No. 7 Helps Lower Cholesterol
Milk Thistle helps to lower total cholesterol by stimulateing protein synthesis in the liver, plus it aids the liver in converting low density lipoprotein (LDL) into high density lipoprotein (HDL).
Not only that, but Milk thistle also helps prevent cholesterol that has been excreted into the bile from being reabsorbed into the body, whilst the silymarin stops the oxidation of LDL cholesterol into a form that creates plaques in the linings of artery walls.
Milk thistle may also reduce the chance of gallstone formation by lowering the cholesterol content of bile.
No. 8 Helps Balance Hormones
Milk thistle contains the antioxidant silymarin, which is thought to help support hormonal balance in the body and promotes the excretion of certain hormones from the body, possibly aiding PMS, acne and when coming off contraception pills.
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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication