Milk Thistle – Liver Rejuvenator
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), also called holy thistle and lady’s thistle. There is an old story that the white marks on the leaves of milk thistle originated from drops of milk shed while Mary nursed the baby Christ. The plant has purple to red flowers and can be up to 10 feet tall. Milk thistle has cleansing effects on the liver. The use of milk thistle for liver disorders dates way back to over 2,000 years ago. All parts of the plant can be used, but the milk thistle seeds are considered to be the most medicinally potent for therapeutic use.
The three main silymarin flavonoids are: 1- silybin 2-silydianin and 3- silychristin. Of these three, silybin is the most beneficial of these active ingredients. Silymarin repairs the liver by stimulating protein synthesis and changing the outside layer of liver cells. This process detoxifies the liver by inhibiting toxins from getting in, blocking them as well as removing them from the body.
Milk thistle is an effective treatment for hepatitis C, jaundice, and cirrhosis. It also strengthens the spleen and gallbladder, benefits people with diabetes, and slows the growth of certain types of cancer, including skin cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
Milk Thistle seeds have antioxidant properties that are many times stronger than vitamin E. These antioxidants encourage liver cell renewal and help repair damage from degenerative conditions related to alcoholism (Wellness).
MILK THISTLE BENEFITS:
● Helps reduce inflammation in the body
● Provides antioxidant and immune-boosting effects
● Improves bile production and efficiency
● Supports decrease of “bad” cholesterol
● Stimulates digestive enzymes
● Protects liver and helps remove toxins
● Helps to break down fatty rich foods
● Known to increase the synthesis of glutathione
● Potential to decrease hot flashes
● Diminishes risk of gallstones or liver stones
● Helps relieve constipation
● Known to be helpful for hemorrhoids and varicose veins
● Beneficial for PMS
Milk thistle seeds, consumed as a powder, tea, tincture, or standardized extract. For mild cleansing effects take 1 teaspoon powder, 3 times a day. For higher doses take between 2-3 teaspoons, 3 times a day. After 8 or 10 weeks, reduce the amount to ½ teaspoon three times a day.
Tea – You can also use milk thistle powder infused into herbal tea recipes. Here is a simple herbal tea that can be used to aid digestion.
● 4 Tbsp finely ground milk thistle seed
● 1 Tbsp whole fennel seed (or 2 teaspoons fennel seed powder)
● 3 Tbsp dandelion root (decoction)
● 1 Tbsp peppermint
● Decoct or simmer the dandelion root for 20 minutes and then pour hot liquid into a jar with the remaining herbs and infuse for 15 minutes.