Milk thistle, which contains the powerful flavonoid group silymarin is a flowering plant that has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. In fact, archaeological evidence has shown that its first known use occurred in ancient Egypt.
The name “milk thistle” comes from the white markings on the leaves and its milky white sap. It is most well-prized through the ages as a liver protectant which can be traced to the Greeks and Pliny the Elder who wrote that it was excellent for “carrying off bile.”
In 1968, a group of German scientists found scientific research to back the ancient medicinal claims when they discovered the active flavonoid complex silymarin, which provides milk thistle's major health benefits.
Since then, hundreds of studies have been done on silymarin. It has been approved in the German Commission E Monographs (the most accurate information available on the safety and efficacy of herbs) as a supportive treatment for inflammatory liver conditions such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, fatty liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
This past year, the international peer-reviewed journal Molecules published a number of articles regarding milk thistle supplementation. The review from researchers located at the Second University of Naples, in Naples, Italy, summarizes milk thistle’s many benefits, such as maintaining liver health and treating chronic liver disease. This is just one of many scientific reviews that have been carried out in recent years. For instance, a 2015 study published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, found that milk thistle may help treat liver inflammation in cancer patients who receive chemotherapy.
But there’s more to milk thistle beyond maintaining healthy liver function. Here is a rundown, according to newsletter Healthline.
Helps promote weight loss
In a 2016 study, mice that were fed a high-fat diet to induce obesity lost weight after taking silymarin that was extracted from milk thistle.
May reduce allergic asthma
Milk thistle extract’s ability to inhibit inflammation may also help treat allergic asthma. A 2012 animal showed that another helpful component known as silibinin had a protective effect against airway inflammation.
A 2006 study showed that cholesterol levels were lowered in people taking milk thistle.
Could help prevent cancer
Milk thistle has preventive and therapeutic potential to fight types of cancer classified as epithelial (ovarian) and colorectal cancer.
Research has found that milk thistle has a positive effect on the immune system and prevents against certain diseases.
May protect AND beautify the skin
A 2013 laboratory test indicated that milk thistle’s antioxidant activity has anticancer and anti-aging potential for the skin.
Aids cognitive function
A 2015 animal study found that milk thistle improved resistance to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance in free radicals and antioxidants, and can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
At Makers Nutrition, our popular “liver support” herbal supplement contains high-quality milk thistle extract. For more information, visit our stock formula page: http://www.makersnutrition.com/stock-formulas/.