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Milk Thistle for the Liver



Milk thistle is an herb that detoxifies and protects important liver functions. It has been prescribed for over 2000 years as a treatment for various liver diseases. Milk thistle derives its name from the white milky fluid that is found in the stems and leaves. The most therapeutic benefit is derived by taking milk thistle seed in whole or powdered form.

Milk Thistle Benefits

Milk thistle has been thoroughly evaluated in numerous clinical studies for over 40 years. Intensive and thorough pharmacological, chemical and clinical research has uncovered the therapeutic mechanism and value of milk thistle in a broad range of human non-liver-related and liver-related diseases. The number of modern research studies confirming this are literally in the hundreds. Milk thistle has an astonishing ability to protect the liver and the human body against virtually all types and forms of damage.

In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the United States National Library of Medicine have catalogued and recorded over 400 scientific medical studies of milk thistle and its curative compounds in their medicine database. These studies support what past generations understood and depended on - that milk thistle is one of the most important, valuable and beneficial plant remedies and treatments available to humankind.

Milk thistle remains one of the most commonly prescribed medicinal herbs in the world as well as being the one herb recommended more than any others for healthy liver function. This is underscored by the fact that milk thistle is a prescribed medication in Europe. Milk thistle extract is given as a treatment for alcohol cirrhosis, mushroom poisoning, hepatitis, drug and alcohol induced damage to the liver and acute viral hepatitis, just to mention a few. Milk thistle is also taken to protect the liver from environmental chemicals and pollutants.

The Mechanism of Milk Thistle

Found in the seeds of milk thistle is a bioflavonoid complex called silymarin. A purified extract of the seeds (silymarin) is what is responsible for most of the medical benefits of the milk thistle plant. It consists of three principle flavonoids which are sylibin, silydiamin and silychristin.  Of these, silybin composes 50 to 70 percent of silymarin and has been demonstrated in clinical studies to be the most beneficial and biologically active ingredient of the milk thistle extract.

There have been numerous peer reviewed double-blind medical studies on the curative effect of milk thistle as applied to toxic liver damage and chronic diseases. These experts unanimously agree that milk thistle is a profoundly therapeutic and beneficial medicinal herb that stimulates protein synthesis and stabilizes the cell membrane all the while enhancing and promoting the regeneration of damaged liver tissue.

Other clinical studies have revealed that milk thistle may protect liver cells by stopping the intrusion of harmful toxins and helping to excrete these toxins from liver cells. As is true with other flavonoids, milk thistle is a very strong antioxidant which helps to maintain energy and health by preventing damage to the body caused by lipid peroxidation and free radicals.

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