Today is a pleasant day to talk about the health benefits of milk thistle.
One of the health benefits of milk thistle is that it is one of the best liver detoxifiers. The liver is one of the most important organs in your body and this is why detoxifying it is a must.
Is this the first time you’re hearing about milk thistle? So what is this milk thistle and what are its benefits to the body?
What Is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle has a lot of other names like the blessed thistle, Mary thistle, Marian thistle, variegated thistle, Mediterranean-milk thistle, Scotch thistle, and St. Mary’s thistle. Milk thistle is a typical flowering plant that natively grows in the Mediterranean region.
It is best known for its overwhelming effects on overall liver health. The different parts of this flowering plant were also traditionally used for treating a wide variety of health disorders.
Silymarin, which is the active ingredient of milk thistle is responsible for making it one of the most amazing natural herbs which have endless potential health benefits.
I guess you’re now a bit familiar with milk thistle. Let’s now check some of the best health benefits of milk thistle that you can get.
1. Milk Thistle Is Good For Your Brain
Milk thistle is traditionally used to treat neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s for generations.
You can read this study on “A Mini Review on the Chemistry and Neuroprotective Effects of Silymarin.”
It may also have neuroprotective qualities that can prevent the decline of your brain’s functions as you age.
This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant-contents in silymarin which is found in milk thistle.
More of this can be read on “Neuroprotective potential of silymarin against CNS disorders.”
There are more different studies conducted on animals that showed milk thistle to help prevent oxidative damage in the brain cells which can prevent mental decline.
2. Supports Liver Health
Among all the milk thistle uses, this is the most common. According to 2016 research, milk thistle has been proved to recover diet-induced liver damage in mice.
Silymarin, which is the active ingredient in it, acts as an antioxidant thereby reducing the production of free radicals. This is what researchers believe creates a detoxifying effect.
Many studies have also suggested that milk thistle can help reverse the damage to the liver that is caused by prolonged alcohol consumption.
3. Milk Thistle May Increase Breast Milk Production
There is limited research about this but some studies show milk thistle can improve the production of breast milk in mothers who are lactating.
Researchers think that the cause of this is the herb can make more of the milk-producing hormone prolactin.
You can check one of these studies here. In summary, the study shows mothers who take milk thistle for 63 days were observed to have 64% more milk compared to a placebo group.
4. Boosts Immune System
According to a 2016 research that was conducted on an animal model, milk thistle extract can improve a person’s immunity.
When regularly used, milk thistle may help you strengthen your immune responses as well as in fighting infections.
5. Milk Thistle May Help With Weight Loss
In a study done in 2016, silymarin which is its main ingredient was found to facilitate weight loss in mice that had previously been fed on foods that were known to cause weight gain.
From this research, researchers claim that milk thistle may be beneficial if you are looking to cut on some pounds.
6. Promotes Skin Health
The oil from milk thistle is very beneficial when it comes to improving skin health. A study that was conducted in 2015 confirmed that when applied to the skin, milk thistle can recover inflammatory skin conditions.
Further studies showed that it also had anti-aging properties on human skin cells when applied to the skin.
These anti-aging properties help delay the signs of aging in your skin like black spots and wrinkles.
The anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant contents of milk thistle are also helpful in keeping acne away or treating it.
Turmeric is another plant or herb that you can consume to help you have better skin health. You can learn more about turmeric health benefits here.
7. Milk Thistle Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy
Milk thistle contains fatty acids and omega-3s that are beneficial in maintaining your heart’s health.
Omega 3s are great in balancing out the cholesterol levels in your body. This can prevent atherosclerosis which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
8. Is Beneficial For People With Type 2 Diabetes
Recently, researchers have been able to discover that milk thistle may be very helpful in regulating the blood sugar level.
According to a 2007 research done by Universidad de Salamanca in Spain, milk thistle has “anti-hyperglycemic properties” that make it beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
Milk thistle was also found to have similar improved insulin sensitivity and decreased blood sugar effects compared to diabetic medications.
More specific details of this study are found on “The therapeutic potential of milk thistle in diabetes.”
9. Milk Thistle Helps With Depression
Liver overload can result in the buildup of neurotoxin in the brain which in turn can cause mental imbalances like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Since milk thistle supports detoxification, it can help turn around neurological imbalances and depressive conditions.
10. Reduces Cholesterol
A study that was conducted in 2006 suggested that milk thistle has an important role to play when it comes to keeping the body’s cholesterol levels at check.
The study indicated that the cholesterol levels of those people who regularly used milk thistle for diabetes were ultimately lower compared to those who used a placebo.
11. Milk Thistle Helps In Clearing Out Gallstones
Many studies have linked the use of milk thistle to a reduction in gallstones.
The studies also found out that apart from boosting gallbladder, it also helps in the case of Cholestasis whereby the gallbladder decreases or stops bile formation.
12. Improves Allergic Asthma Symptoms
A study conducted in 2002 confirmed that Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, can reduce inflammation.
In the study, milk thistle helped in protecting against inflammation in the airway passages of those mice that had allergic asthma.
13. Milk Thistle May Limit The Spread Of Cancer
According to a 2016 review, milk thistle extract can inhibit the growth and reproduction of cancerous cells in colorectal cancer.
This means that it can stop the growth and spread of specific types of cancer.
14. May Support Bone Health
A study that was conducted in 2013 confirmed that milk thistle was responsible for preventing bone loss in humans. The study mainly focused on bone loss which was a result of a deficiency in the hormone estrogen.
Since it is not clear if it is equally important for bone loss resulting from other causes, further studies still need to be done on its benefits on human bone health.
These are just some of the health benefits of milk thistle that I’d like to share with you.
From these milk thistle benefits, it is arguable that milk thistle is not only beneficial for the liver but also ensures the overall health of your body.
There is nothing much known of or if there are side effects in consuming milk thistle. I consume milk thistle through capsule supplements.
I think I need to make my liver healthier because of the painkillers I take whenever I get arthritis attacks.
So for the best health benefit of milk thistle, I have to go with that it can help protect your liver. I usually go for the anti-inflammatory benefit.
But for today, the liver is super important.
How about you, which one on the list of health benefits of milk thistle is your favorite or do you need the most?
To be always safe, you should first consult with your doctor or health professional if you’re fine or if it’s OK for you to consume milk thistle.
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