The use of milk thistle in history
Milk thistle is a plant, a natural food supplement that is used to cleanse the liver of toxins and protect the vital functions of the liver.
As a natural remedy for the treatment of liver diseases, milk thistle has been used for more than 2000 years. In scientific circles, this plant is known under the name Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertner (syn. Cardous marianus). This is a herbaceous biennial plant that can reach 2 meters in height, with red or purple flowers. It is also called milk thistle. The plant received such a milk name because if the leaves of the milk thistle were broken, a milky-white liquid follows from them. Milk thistle grows in southern Europe, southern Russia, Asia Minor and northern Africa, and it has taken root in northern and southern America.
The first to widely use the seeds of milk thistle in the treatment of liver disease were Europeans. However, the beneficial properties of milk thistle have been known to mankind since ancient times. The Greek philosopher Theophrastus (4th century BC) mentioned this plant with the word Pternix, and Pliny the Elder (1st century AD) knew it by the name Sillibum.
In addition, in 1744, Von Haller documented the fact that the plant was used for the treatment of the liver in his Medical Lexicon. In later years, many authors of formal and informal medicine have witnessed the use of milk thistle in the treatment of diseases of the liver, as well as the bile ducts and spleen.
What is the use of milk thistle?
Over the past 40 years, intensive chemical, pharmacological and clinical studies have confirmed the mechanisms of action and therapeutic value of milk thistle in the treatment of many liver diseases, and a number of other diseases not directly related to the liver. Literally hundreds of modern studies have confirmed the unique ability of milk thistle to protect the liver and other organs of the body from a variety of harmful effects. Of the 400 scientific studies on milk thistle documented in the National Medical Library of the United States, many argue that the use of milk thistle is the highest among all herbal remedies,
Today milk thistle is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world and the first remedy for liver diseases. Milk thistle extract is indicated for mushroom poisoning, alcoholic cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, alcoholic liver damage, acute hepatitis and many other diseases.
What diseases use milk thistle:
The list of diseases for which the use of milk thistle is obvious includes, but is not limited to such diseases:
- Alcoholic cirrhosis
- Chronic hepatitis (any)
- Alcoholic liver damage
- Acute viral hepatitis
- Fatty liver disease (alcoholic and non-alcoholic nature, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)
- Fibrosis and cirrhosis
- Liver failure due to steroid use
- Regular drinking
- Hepatic failure due to environmental factors
- Moreover, experimental and clinical studies of milk Thistle extract showed its beneficial properties (not directly related to the liver):
- Reduces cholesterol, which is good for the heart.
- Reduces the growth of cancer cells in breast, intestinal, prostate, uterus, kidney cancer
- Participates in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
- Regulates blood sugar
- It has many anti-aging properties.
- Reduces cell damage during radiation and chemotherapy
- Complements protection from dangerous sunlight and may be helpful in treating certain types of skin diseases.
- Absorbs free radicals and is a powerful antioxidant.
- Reduces hot flashes and other symptoms during menopause
- Helps with indigestion
- It helps in poisoning the fungus white toadstool
How does milk thistle
Thistle seeds contain a complex of bioflavonoids, known as silymarin. Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, is simply a purified extract of the seeds of this plant. It is thanks to him that milk thistle has such useful properties.
The effect of milk thistle was investigated by a double-blind method – its effect on toxic liver damage (mainly alcohol), chronic liver failure and liver disease caused by drugs was studied. Doctors concluded that milk thistle has exceptional therapeutic, beneficial properties that stabilize the cell membrane and stimulate protein synthesis, and accelerate the process of regeneration of the affected liver tissue.
Like other flavonoids, milk Thistle is a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain health and energy by protecting the body against free radicals and lipid peroxidation that affect healthy cells and tissues.
Milk thistle: side effects (contraindications)
By itself, the effect of this plant is very soft. Compared with other natural products, many of which entail side effects, milk thistle has a sparing effect on the body, despite its strong healing properties. Therefore, there are no obvious contraindications to its use – the side effects of using any part of this plant have not been identified. Although it has been observed that milk thistle seed extract can cause a slight short-term laxative effect in some people. Milk thistle is not contraindicated in pregnant or lactating.