Milk Thistle Extract Benefits

Milk Thistle Extract Benefits

Milk Thistle may very well be the blessed herb. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary nursed baby Jesus beneath the boughs of a milk thistle tree, and a drop of her milk fell on its leaves and remained. This legend explains some of the many names of Milk Thistle – Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle, and St. Mary’s Thistle. It may be the herb with many names but its use throughout time has been very singular. Milk thistle extract has been used for liver health since ancient Greek and Roman times.

The Milk Thistle extract comes from a plant that originated in the Mediterranean, but can now be found throughout the world. It is an easy to grow plant that matures in less than a year. Its botanical name is Silybum marianum, and the main active ingredient in Milk Thistle Extract is silymarin. Supplements are produced from the seed extract of the plant.

Milk Thistle Extract Benefits

Milk Thistle extract has been widely used to treat conditions of the liver. It is believed to cleanse, detoxify, protect, strengthen and energize a sluggish liver. The liver is the largest organ in the body and performs the following critical functions:

– Aids the digestive process by producing and excreting bile. – Breaks down toxic substances and medicinal products. – Stores substances such as Vitamin B12, Iron, Copper and Glycogen (a form of glucose). – Helps control infection by removing germs and bacteria. – Produces proteins which regulate blood clotting.

There is no artificial organ that can duplicate all of the functions of the liver, so keeping this organ healthy and properly functioning is critical to life.

Milk Thistle Extract Studies

Milk Thistle studies show that the extract seems to guard the liver by slowing down the absorption rate so that harmful toxins are excreted by the kidneys before they reach the liver. One of the most damaging toxins to the liver is the “Death Cap” (Amanita phalloides) mushroom. In animal studies, Milk Thistle extract was found to completely counteract the effects of this toxin when it was given 10 minutes after ingestion. When given within 24 hours of poisoning, the risk of liver damage and/or death were greatly reduced.

Milk Thistle extract has been used to treat many liver conditions including:

– Hepatitis – to decrease the inflammation – Cirrhosis – to soften the hardening caused by this disease – Liver Cancer – to help detoxify the liver and promote healing

Liquid Milk Thistle Extract

Liquid Milk Thistle extract is also believed to have demulcent, or soothing properties. For this reason it is also used to treat skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Reportedly, when liquid Milk Thistle extract is used there is a dramatic decrease in redness, dryness, cracking and a very noticeable glow and radiance to the skin.

Because this herb stimulates the liver and improves the secretion of bile, it is sometimes used as a gentle laxative. Its soothing properties may also aid in constipation.

While the benefits of Milk Thistle extract for the liver have been tested over time, this herb may prove to have other health benefits. There are a number of studies in process examining its effect on various cancers, its ability to protect the heart muscle from damage and the potential to reduce cholesterol.

Any Milk Thistle Extract Side Effects?

Milk Thistle Extract can have an antagonistic effect when taken along with Yohimbine. Do not take Yohimbine when taking Milk Thistle. In fact you may want to avoid Yohimbine all together as it is currently under scrutiny by regulators for possible problems. As always, consult your doctor and follow label directions.

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