Milk thistle is renowned for its remarkable ability to improve the overall health and well-being of people suffering from devastating liver conditions. Scientific evidence now indicates that milk thistle may also provide various benefits when consumed regularly. In this article, we will discuss the indications, contraindications, side effects, and benefits of consuming milk thistle. Let’s go !
Milk thistle is a plant that has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. It is native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia, but is also found in other parts of the world. Its scientific name is Silybum marianum and it belongs to the Asteraceae family. The most active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, a flavonoid complex made up of several different elements, including silibinin, silydianin, and silychristin.
What are the particularities of milk thistle?
Milk thistle has many beneficial properties, including being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective agent. It is used to treat a range of liver diseases due to its unique ability to protect the liver from damage caused by free radicals and toxins, while helping to regenerate healthy new cells. It may also be effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels and helping with digestive issues such as gallbladder inflammation or gallstones.
Additionally, milk thistle may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or pre-diabetes and may even reduce symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes or night sweats.
The active ingredients in milk thistle have many general health benefits thanks to their high content of antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Likewise, they are known for their anticancer activities, which inhibit tumor growth while increasing cancer cell apoptosis. The flavonoids found in milk thistle also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain associated with conditions like arthritis or gout. Finally, research shows that these compounds benefit heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and improving circulation.
Milk thistle is often recommended in certain types of ailments.
The properties of milk thistle can be used in cases of:
- Digestive problems such as indigestion, heartburn and bloating.
- Liver problems such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.
- Gallbladder problems such as gallstones.
- Kidney problems such as nephritis.
- Cholesterol regulation.
- Diabetes control.
- Skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema.
- Cancer prevention; and more.
By helping the body detoxify itself from harmful substances, milk thistle can help the body heal from these conditions more quickly. It can also boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which helps protect the body against infection-causing bacteria or viruses. It has even been suggested that milk thistle may have mental health benefits due to its calming effects on the brain.
Milk thistle: how to take advantage of its benefits?
Milk thistle is often consumed as a supplement in the form of capsules, teas, and liquid. It can also be found as an ingredient in food or drink products.
To use milk thistle medicinally, it is recommended to take one capsule containing 225-420 mg of milk thistle extract daily. It is also possible to drink 2 to 3 cups of milk thistle tea throughout the day to enjoy its benefits. If you are taking milk thistle in liquid form, 1-2 teaspoons (5-10ml) should be mixed with water and taken two or three times a day.
- It is important to note that milk thistle should not be taken on an empty stomach, as it may cause abdominal discomfort in some people.
- Milk thistle should also not be taken by pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant, due to the lack of clinical research on its safety during pregnancy.
- People who are currently taking medication should consult their doctor before adding milk thistle to their routine due to potential interactions with certain medications.
- Finally, it is advisable to take milk thistle before meals to improve digestion by stimulating the production of bile acids in the stomach. This breaks down fats and makes nutrients easier to absorb.