Prickly yet pretty, ‘St Mary’s Thistle’ or ‘Milk Thistle’ is a plant with a long, thin stem, spiny leaves, and a purplish-pink thistle at the top. Often considered a weed, it has been used for hundreds of years as a natural, herbal way to treat liver and gallbladder diseases.
But is there more to Milk Thistle than a happier Liver? YES!!
- 1. Milk Thistle Protects Your Liver
- 2. Milk Thistle May Help Prevent Age-Related Decline in Brain Function
- 3. Milk Thistle Could Protect Your Bones
- 4. Milk Thistle May Improve Cancer Treatment
- 5. Milk Thistle Could Help Treat Acne
- 6. Milk Thistle Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels for People With Diabetes
- In summary
1. Milk Thistle Protects Your Liver
There are many health benefits of Milk Thistle, and a key use is as a complementary therapy for people who have liver damage due to conditions like alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis and even liver cancer. It’s also used to protect the liver against toxin exposure.
Studies have shown improvements in liver function in people with liver diseases who have taken a milk thistle supplement, suggesting it could help reduce liver inflammation and liver damage.
Milk thistle is thought to reduce damage to the liver caused by free radicals, which are produced when your liver metabolises toxic substances.
2. Milk Thistle May Help Prevent Age-Related Decline in Brain Function
This unique herb’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties mean that yet another health benefit of milk thistle, is that it is neuroprotective – and could help prevent the decline in brain function you experience as you age.
In test-tube and animal studies, silymarin (the flavonolignans extracted from milk thistle) has been shown to prevent oxidative damage to brain cells, which could help prevent mental decline.
These studies have also seen that milk thistle may be able to reduce the number of amyloid plaques in the brains of animals with Alzheimer’s disease . . . meaning that milk thistle could potentially be used to help treat this difficult condition.
3. Milk Thistle Could Protect Your Bones
Milk thistle has been shown in experimental test-tube and animal studies to stimulate bone mineralization and potentially be protective against bone loss.
As a result, researchers suggest that one important health benefit of milk thistle may be its use as a therapy for preventing or delaying bone loss in postmenopausal women.
4. Milk Thistle May Improve Cancer Treatment
It’s been suggested that the antioxidant effects of silymarin may have some anticancer effects, which could be helpful for people receiving cancer treatment. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27517806/
Some animal studies have shown that milk thistle could be useful for reducing the side effects of cancer treatments. It may also make chemotherapy work more effectively against certain cancers and, in some circumstances, even destroy cancer cells.
5. Milk Thistle Could Help Treat Acne
It’s been suggested that oxidative stress in the body may play a role in the development of acne. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, milk thistle may be a useful supplement for people with acne.
Interestingly, one study found that people with acne who took silymarin for 8 weeks experienced a 53% decrease in acne lesions. https://www.longdom.org/open-access/effects-of-oral-antioxidants-on-lesion-counts-associated-with-oxidative-stress-and-inflammation-in-patients-with-papulopustular-acne-2155-9554.1000163.pdf
6. Milk Thistle Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels for People With Diabetes
Milk thistle may be a useful complementary therapy to help manage type 2 diabetes. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25396404/
It’s been discovered that one of the compounds in milk thistle may work similarly to some diabetic medications by helping improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar.
A recent review and analysis found that people routinely taking silymarin experienced a significant reduction in their fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c, a measure of blood sugar control. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27340676/
Additionally, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of milk thistle may also be useful for reducing the risk of developing diabetic complications like kidney disease.
There are many potential health benefits of Milk Thistle – and it is a safe supplement that shows potential as a complementary therapy for various conditions, including liver disease, cancer and diabetes.
We use a product that contains Milk Thistle along with other supportive ingredients. It’s an integral part of the Savvy Team DETOX Program among other programs.
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