There are some heavily documented milk thistle benefits. Milk thistle are a genus of plants which feature mottled leaves with white splashes, and a milky sap.
These plants share the same family as the daisy, and look very similar to the common white daisy. Milk thistle extract is a product of the seeds of the plant, which contain the compound silymarin.
Silymarin is the primary compound that produces the milk thistle benefits seen from milk thistle therapy.
Treatment of Liver Diseases
Liver cirrhosis, or hardening of the liver, is a condition in which the liver is replaced by fibrous scar tissue, which result in loss of liver function.
It is most frequently caused by alcoholism, Hepatitis B and C. While milk thistle benefits have shown to improve liver function in general after the liver has been damaged, hepatitis B and C patients, as well as alcoholics, do not see nearly as much improvement as those whose liver damage stems from other sources.
Other studies contradict these findings, showing that a significantly high enough dosage will bring about improvements in liver function. Doses as high as 1200mg/day may be necessary to see significant improvement from milk thistle benefits.
Cancer of the liver may be fought with silymarin, as its anti-oxidant powers clean up free radicals and interfere with the reproduction of harmful cells.
Liver Damage Due to Toxins
Recently, milk thistle was used to counteract the liver-destroying effects of the death cap mushroom. In conjunction with other milk thistle benefits, many of the participants in the study made a full recovery.
It is vital to administer the treatment within 48 hours of the mushroom ingestion for it to be effective. Psychotropic drugs unrelated to mushrooms also cause significant liver damage, which has been improved by taking milk thistle.
Liver damage induced by either workplace hazards or medications has been reversed by milk thistle benefits. Workers exposed to toluene and xylene for up to two decades were given either milk thistle extract or a placebo for 30 days.
After testing, the experimental group was shown to have markedly higher liver function than those that were given the placebo. Acetaminophen poisoning has also shown improvement through milk thistle benefits.
There are a variety of off-beat milk thistle benefits. Most of them relate in some way to the liver-fortifying properties mentioned above.
Bodybuilders use it to help counteract liver damage brought on by steroid use. Some Type II diabetics suffering from cirrhosis of the liver report their insulin resistance is lowered.
Many products that report to help “cure” a hangover contain milk thistle, despite the fact that a hangover is only cured by time and re-hydration.
Similarly, addicts going through withdrawal after opiate use may obtain some milk thistle benefits.
In addition to the medical uses, milk thistle is also eaten. The leaves can be used as spinach for salads, and the flower heads are eaten as an artichoke.
Roots are eaten raw or roasted, and the shoots can be steamed. It is unknown if the same benefits can be derived from eating the whole plant versus ingesting the extract, which is taken from the seeds.
The Best Way to Boost Your Health
When you’re looking for the best way to take advantage of the milk thistle benefits, you have to be sure that whatever you are buying has been proven to be pure, safe and effective.
Only look for standardized herbal extracts of the highest integrity and potency. It can be purchased as a stand-alone supplement or combined with other ingredients.
My personal opinion and feeling is that by combining it with other high-quality ingredients enhances the health benefits.
A supplement that does this and one that I use myself is called Total Balance by Xtend-Life, I highly recommend you check them out if you’re interested in improving your health naturally.