Milk Thistle is a plant that sprouts pretty purple flowers and it forms part of the same family as daisies.
The name milk thistle derives from its thistle-like flowers on top and the milk-like substance that it contains in its stems.
For thousands of years, all parts of the milk thistle plant has been used for medicinal purposes and it is well-known today that milk thistle is one of the best and strongest natural liver detoxifiers there is.
In the latter part of the 19th century, milk thistle was used to treat many health issues including liver problems, spleen and kidney issues and varicose veins. In today’s alternative medicine, it is used mainly to treat liver problems and detox the liver and kidneys. It is also used to treat gastrointestinal problems. Below we look in more depth into the health benefits of milk thistle.
Milk Thistle for the Liver
Milk thistle contains a powerful antioxidant compound known as silymarin. Silymarin is one of the most potent liver detoxifiers known to man, and it also helps to boost levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione which are two of the strongest of the body’s natural antioxidants. This boost in antioxidants helps to reduce the risk of intestinal ulcers and reduces inflammation in the bowels.
One of the greatest benefits of milk thistle in terms of the liver is that it slows down absorption of toxins into the liver and it also promotes liver cell regeneration which helps to fight against liver poisoning, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver.
Milk Thistle for the Kidneys
The same antioxidant silymarin found in milk thistle that protects the liver also does the world of good for the kidneys. Silymarin becomes concentrated in kidney cells and helps to repair and regenerate DNA and protein enzymes. This can drastically improve kidney health and kidney function in people who have kidney damage from infection and toxins.
Kidneys are also one of the most commonly damaged organs for patients who have undergone chemotherapy for cancer. Some studies have shown that silymarin can help to protect kidneys from chemotherapy and can help to repair damaged kidneys.
Milk Thistle's Ability To Act As A Demulcent
Milk thistle has been shown to work as a demulcent, which helps to improve the function and health of mucous membranes within the body, helping to protect against inflammation in various parts of the body. It is also known to reduce the risk of gall stones thanks to its anti-inflammatory action.
Other Health Benefits
Some studies have shown milk thistle to be a great skin moisturiser and to help with acne and other skin problems such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. It is often an ingredient in beauty products and is a wonderful ingredient to add to the bath to improve skin quality.