7 health benefits of milk thistle
Considered nothing more than a nuisance weed by most, milk thistle actually holds great potential for healing inside its prickly leaves and striking purple blooms. Traditionally used as a natural treatment for liver disorders, the health benefits of milk thistle may finally be going mainstream.
Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, is composed of three components extracted from the seeds of the plant. Studies support its use as a treatment for liver injury caused by alcohol, radiation and other toxins as well as chronic viral hepatitis. However, improving liver health may be just the beginning for this humble plant.
By the way, this is my "go to" nutritional supplement to keep my liver healthy and strong. And, yes, it contains milk thistle plus much more!
Make the most of milk thistle’s many benefits
The compounds in milk thistle may be one of the most helpful substance to promote liver healing. Milk thistle extract is available in many affordable forms at most neighborhood health food stores. You can find it in many forms like, capsules, tinctures and even herbal teas. But, my favorite is the liposomal form of milk thistle - because its delivery system ensures maximum cellular absorption.
Just remember, when dealing with any health issues - be sure to work with a qualified (integrative) healthcare provider that appreciates the value of herbal remedies.
7 reasons to consider taking milk thistle
1. Immune system builder
Studies on both humans and animals found that milk thistle extract had a positive effect on the immune response. Consuming the extract may help to correct immune system dysfunction and help to fight off hidden infections before they become a problem.
2. Inhibit the growth of cancer cells
Early research found that milk thistle was effective in inhibiting the growth of some cancer cells, especially colorectal cancer. To be clear, milk thistle should not be considered a cancer treatment. But, anything that helps the liver to detoxify unwanted debris is a good thing.
3. Helps to maintain a healthy body weight
Research on animals have shown that using silymarin cause weight loss - even when the animals were placed on a high-calorie diet intended to make them gain weight. Again, the build up of environmental toxins - inside the body - can contribute to poor metabolic functions and weight gain. This is just another reason why detoxification is so important.
4. Regulates glucose levels
Healers from the Ayurvedic tradition advise the use of milk thistle to treat blood sugar issues. Especially when combined with other herbal remedies, milk thistle has been shown to lower blood sugar and triglyceride levels.
In addition, it may also reduce insulin resistance in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
5. A natural antidepressant
In animal studies, milk thistle was proven to elevate mood and reduce anxiety, especially that which is caused by traumatic brain injury. Silymarin even performed on par with powerful pharmaceutical drugs in one particular study.
6. Improved bone health
Concerns about bone loss effect many people, especially women. A natural decrease in estrogen as women age can decrease bone health and cause brittle bones. Milk thistle is promising as a supplement to prevent bone loss caused by low estrogen levels.
7. Better brain health
Milk thistle can help to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Regular use of this plant extract protects against the cumulative damage caused by free radicals - otherwise known as oxidative stress. Keep in mind, too much oxidative stress will trigger chronic inflammation. And, we all know that inflammation is at the core of so many health problems.
Safety and warnings about milk thistle
Milk thistle is considered generally safe for most people when taken as a supplement. It may interact with certain medications and should not be taken without consulting with a trusted, integrative healthcare provider. Having said that, the daily use of high quality herbs can do so much to protect our health.
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