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Milk Thistle - Uses and Benefits

Family: Asteraceae
Genus and Species: Silybum marianum

Common Names:- milk thistle, Mary thistle, holy thistle. Milk thistle is sometimes called silymarin, which is actually a mixture of the herb's active components, including silybinin.

Herb- Milk Thistle Herb has been used medicinally by some people for functional disorders of the liver and gallbladder. . It has been considered especially helpful in cases jaundice , colitis , pleurisy, and diseases of the spleen.

Fruit- Milk Thistle Fruit has been used by some for the treatment of dyspeptic symptoms, loss of appetite, liver and gall bladder complaints including inflammation of the gall bladder duct, toxic liver disease and hepatic cirrhosis.

Milk thistle has been proven to protect the liver from damage. The detrimental effects of environmental toxins, alcohol, drugs and chemotherapy may be countered with this valuable herb. The active chemical component in the herb is silybin, which functions as an antioxidant and is one of the most potent liver protective agents known.

Uses:-

It helps in-

  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Reducing insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis
  • Reducing the growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers
  • Milk thistle extract is occasionally used to stimulate the appetite, but its primary use is for liver and gallbladder problems.
  • It is most effective when given six hours before exposure, although there is some benefit up to thirty minutes after exposure to the toxin.

Side Effects:-

  • In clinical trials, milk thistle generally has few side effects. Occasionally, people report a laxative effect, upset stomach, diarrhea, and bloating.
  • Milk thistle can produce allergic reactions, which tend to be more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family (for example, ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, and daisy).
  • It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including milk thistle. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.

There are no known contra-indications to Milk Thistle supplements. There is, however, a caution for HIV patients, because many medications taken by individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) - such as protease inhibitors and non-nukes are processed by the liver enzyme CYP3A4 which is decreased by Silymarin.

Dosage:-

The suggested dose of milk thistle is generally 12 to 15 grams of dried herb (200 to 400 mg silymarin) per day or silymarin-phosphatidylcholine complex 100 to 200 mg two times per day. For liver protection, 120 mg silymarin (about 2 capsules) two times per day.

Milk thistle should not be administered as a tea or as dried herb because silymarin is neither water-soluble nor readily absorbed from the intestinal tract. Proprietary products standardized to 70 percent silymarin are utilized in Europe at a usual dose of 420 mg daily.

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