Health benefits of Milk Thistle!

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) is used to deal with many health conditions traditionally. However, today there are proven health benefits from its use and it is mainly used to treat liver problems as well as specific carcinomas and poisonings.

Milk Thistle is present everywhere in the world  but it particularly loves the temperate Mediterranean climate and it is found in the form of a bush. They are flowering one-year, two-year or perennial plants belonging to the family of daisies (Asteraceae). In herbal medicine the seeds of its flowers are mainly used, and they are harvested towards the end of summer when they dry out completely. The other parts of the plant are also used to pharmaceutical preparations but they have lower levels of active substances. The active ingredient of Milk Thistle is Silymarin, which is reported in literature as a protective agent of liver cells from toxic substances, as well as radiation, ischemia and microbial agents.

Laboratory studies show that Silymarin stabilizes cell membranes, activates detoxification processes in the body, promotes liver regeneration, inhibits the growth of certain cancer cells, increases efficacy, and mitigates the side effects of certain chemotherapy agents. Milk Thistle is now used in conjunction with special dietary programs, mainly:

• In cases of liver cirrhosis
• In chronic liver disease
• In hepatitis cases
• In fatty liver infiltration
• In hepatic damage caused by medicines or toxins
• In carcinomas
• As an antioxidant
• In cases of mushroom poisoning
• To reduce the side effects of anticancer therapies

Although it is generally considered to be a safe herb that does not cause side effects, however, cases of mild stomach upset or allergic reactions have been reported after consumption. In children and pregnant women, it is recommended to stay on the safe side and not to use the herb in order to rule out any side effects. The beneficial actions of Milk Thistle in recent years have attracted the interest of the scientific community, and the publications of scientific studies on the medicinal actions of the plant are innumerable.

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