Also known as the blessed milk thistle and Silybum marianum, milk thistle belongs to the Asteracea family, and is well known for its ripe seeds, which contain valuable medicinal properties. This plant grows to around 200 cm in height, and its extracts are known for their extensive medicinal use.
Milk thistle also contains important flavonoids and fatty acids that are beneficial to health, including linoleic acid.
Milk thistle also holds an impressive position in herbal medicine, and is used for many different health conditions.
Here we’ve listed down some of the most common uses of this herb.
- In the ancient times, milk thistle was used as a folk remedy for the treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders.
- Milk thistle extracts have also been found to be effective against chronic hepatitis.
- Some studies suggest that the extracts of this herb may be effective against liver damage arising due to toxicity from acetaminophen, alcohol and other medications.
- Those suffering from alcohol related liver disease can experience benefits by using milk thistle as a natural remedy.
- Milk thistle contains an active ingredient called Silymarin, which contains valuable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect the body from many conditions.
- Some studies have also revealed that milk thistle may be effective in lowering blood sugar levels, and could also lower down blood cholesterol levels, which make it a best home remedy for people suffering from diabetes. It has also been found that milk thistle could help improve insulin resistance, which could be particularly helpful for those suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- It has been found that milk thistle extracts could reduce the growth of tumor cells in breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer patients.
- Milk thistle extracts have also demonstrated their efficiency in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, which can, in turn, help reduce the risk of heart disease in those at a higher risk.
Taken in large quantities, milk thistle can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and bloating. Lactating mothers should avoid using milk thistle.