Milk Thistle: Give Your Liver Some Love.Charity Parkinson Cl.H., H.N.C.
June 23, 2016
History of Helping
Milk thistle, known as Silybum Marianum in latin, is strong and beautiful with its thick stem, thorny leaves and bright purple flower, but it can also change people’s lives.
Milk thistle has been used medicinally for over 2000 years, and was popular in the 18th century for mild to more serious cases of illness. Back then, herbalists used it as a spleen and lymphatic remedy to support nutrient assimilation, blood flow, and as a remedy for the liver and abdominal region. The herb was used to resolve cases of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, menstrual problems and hemorrhages; it even cured people with symptoms of severe abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding and jaundice that could not be cured with anything else.
How Milk Thistle Helps
Milk thistle is rich in a complex of antioxidant compounds called flavonolignans found in high concentrations in the seed, which is called the silymarin complex. One compound in this complex is called silybin, where new research is now being focused, and there are many positive studies that have been done on the silymarin complex as a whole.
Laboratory and clinical research has shown that milk thistle can prevent the destruction of liver cells, while increasing liver cell regeneration. It has also shown increases to the levels of glutathione, which processes hormones and detoxifies harmful substances. Milk thistle is so powerful that it can protect us from the harmful effects of too much alcohol, drugs, the hepatitis viruses, fatty liver, liver cirrhosis and even mushroom poisoning. Milk thistle can be used as a day to day liver tonic for extended periods of time, protecting us from various environmental toxins It can also be used in combination with other liver herbs as a cleanse for a shorter period of time.
Form Impacts Speed and Absorption
Like any other medicine, the form in which the milk thistle is delivered is important to its effectiveness. One of the best options for optimal absorption is a tincture containing distilled alcohol and water, to extract these important molecules and make them more bioavailable to our cells. For those who don’t like tinctures, look for a capsule containing a liquid extract with vegetable glycerin as a base. A dry herb capsule doesn’t offer the full spectrum of the plant compounds and will tend to degrade after the herb has been powdered and left to sit on the shelf.
The other benefit of a tincture or liquid extract, is its’ ability to be immediately absorbed into our oral and gastric mucosa and then into our bloodstream. A dry herb capsule needs to go through the small intestinal tract first and then be paired up with a lipid in order for the body to utilize it. Research shows that flavonoids can be difficult to absorb this way.
So don’t be shy about giving your body extra liver support with this amazing herb in the right form. By supporting our liver we can reduce allergies, improve our immune system, balance our hormones, support our gut health, reduce inflammation, clear our skin and prevent rapid aging. Talk to your local natural health store to learn more about the benefits of Milk Thistle.
“The book of herbal wisdom” by Matthew Wood
“The Scientific Herbal” by Dr.Terry Willard Cl.H.
“Herbal Therapeutics” by David Winson R.H. (AGH)
“Today’s Herbal Health” by Louise Tenney M.H.