The magical medicinal properties of milk thistle have been known for more than 2000 years. Its remedial benefits were documented as early as the 4th century B.C. It is also commonly known as lady’s thistle, holy thistle and St. Mary thistle. It is also called the “liver herb” due to its efficacy as a remedy against liver problems. It is an herbaceous plant that grows annually. It becomes 10 feet tall with purple and red flowers. Milk thistle is native to the southern part of Europe, North Africa, southern Russia and Asia Minor. It is also found in parts of North and South America.
Milk thistle is well-known for an effective herbal treatment for various disorders of the liver. Europeans were among the first to make use of the seeds of this herb to treat liver problems. This herb is so named because of the milky substance that is derived from it when it is crushed. Research has shown that it has many beneficial properties that can be used to improve health and treat different ailments.
Milk Thistle Benefits For Skin:
It is believed that the herb has anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, demulcent and antioxidant properties that help in improving your skin’s condition. Experts recommend consulting a doctor before taking milk thistle supplements, as there isn’t strong evidence to prove the benefits of milk thistle. Here are a few ways that this magical herb could do wonders to your skin:
1. Helps Get Rid Of Pimples, Zits, Eczema And Acne:
Milk thistle has detoxifying properties. At the same time it is also known to help produce bile in the intestine to keep digestion and bowel movements normal. Both of them are important for good skin by getting rid of free radicals in the body.This ultimately helps get rid of pimple and related skin problems.
[ Read: How To Remove Pimples Overnight ]
2. Radiant and Glowing Skin:
The anti-oxidant and detoxifying property of milk thistle is believed to be beneficial for the skin as it removes toxins from your body. Your liver and colon are cleansed by this wondrous herb, making it possible for your skin to look radiant and glowing.
3. Prevents Skin Flare-Ups:
One of the components of milk thistle is silymarin, which is believed to have healing powers. By increasing glutathione levels in your body, it prevents skin ailments like psoriasis and flare-ups. The deficiency of glutathione, a protein that has detoxifying properties, is said to be a cause of psoriasis. The glutathione content in milk thistle is known to improve the skin condition by detoxifying the body from within.
4. Hydrates And Softens Skin:
As mentioned earlier, milk thistle has demulcent properties. It is this property that helps in hydrating and softening the dry skin. This means it forms a layer over the mucus membrane, and thereby helps to keep the skin breathing, safe from external damage. Your skin will improve dramatically, become more smooth and supple with the intake of the wonderful milk thistle.
5. Makes The Skin Clean And Clear:
Milk thistle is known to be an effective blood purifier. It cleanses the blood, help in blood circulation and remove the toxins. It also cleanses the skin of the materials that cause blemishes, marks, etc. Having milk thistle regularly will help you to have a clearer skin.
6. Prevents Skin Cancer And Photo-Aging:
According to the studies conducted at the Cancer Center of the University of Colorado, silibinin, which is an extract of milk thistle, has the ability to repair or kill skin cells that have been affected by the exposure to the UVB radiation. It also protects the skin against the damaging effects of UVB radiation.
7. Delays Ageing:
Milk thistle keeps your skin glowing and radiant. Its ability to promote healthy cell growth also means that it will help delay aging to a certain extent.
There may not be any strong evidence that milk thistle benefits your skin. But, it has the properties that benefit the different parts of your body, such as the liver, kidney, colon, blood, etc. which in turn have fantastic effects on your skin. When your body is healthy from the inside, it shows on the outside as well, meaning that you will naturally have glowing and healthy skin all the times.
Milk Thistle Benefits For Hair:
Milk thistle and its extracts, particularly silymarin, are being studied extensively to find out how they can benefit our health. We already know that it can benefit your skin in many ways through the purification and encouragement of proper functioning of different organs in your body. This miraculous herb is said to have great benefits for hair as well.
Here are the ways in which milk thistle is believed to do wonders for your hair:
8. Strengthens And Protects Hair Follicles:
Hair loss and balding is a major problem among many people all over the world. Many hair loss remedies include milk thistle as it is believed that it can prevent hair loss when combined with other important ingredients. When used with other natural and herbal plants, it is known to be effective to strengthen and protect the hair follicles.
9. Prevents Hair Loss:
The plant’s ability to detoxify your body is also one of the reasons why milk thistle is often recommended as a remedy for hair loss. The fact is that a well-balanced and healthy body is believed to strengthen hair, hence preventing hair fall and loss of hair.
10. Repairs Existing Damage:
Milk thistle is known to help protect the liver from the harmful side effects of stress. It also helps promote the healing capability of the liver. This would mean that the liver works normally and helps to maintain healthy hair and skin by getting rid of toxins and other waste materials from the body.
Milk Thistle Benefits For Health:
Did you know that the US National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine have catalogued over 400 scientific research and studies of the wonderful milk thistle and the active compounds that it contains in their database for medicines? The studies that have been conducted so far have reaffirmed what past generations have known and believed for centuries. This magical herb is one of the most valuable natural ingredients for different remedies and treatments. Let us have a look at milk thistle health benefits:
11. Treats Liver Problems:
Milk thistle is widely known for its efficacy in naturally treating liver-related conditions. These conditions include the following:
- Cirrhosis caused by alcohol
- Liver damage induced by drug and alcohol abuse
- Viral hepatitis
- Fatty liver disease
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis
- Hepatic toxicity caused by the use of steroids
- Pollution of the liver due to toxins and pollutants
12. Helps Recover From Cirrhosis:
The damage caused to liver due to excessive consumption of alcohol can be cured by using milk thistle as a part of the daily diet.
13. Treats Hepatitis That Is Caused Due To Viral Infection:
Milk thistle is highly beneficial to treat viral hepatitis by making the liver stronger. It also helps the body recuperate from the low immunity levels.
14. Reduces Cholesterol:
Milk thistle is rich in substances, which reduce unhealthy cholesterol level in the body. This also means that there is less stress on the liver and kidneys.
15. Prevents Cancer:
Milk thistle is known to have a positive effect on many body cells and inhibit any improper or uninhibited growth of cancerous cells in the body. Milk thistle is known to prevent colon cancer, renal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer as well.
16. Deals With Problem Of Menopause In Women:
Milk thistle is loaded with minerals and helps in the normal menstruation cycle in women. It also helps to deal with problems related to menopause.
17. Treats Seasonal Allergies:
It has been proven that milk thistle used in combination with other antihistamine medicines or natural treatments can help reduce inflammation. It is highly effective to treat the allergies and reduce inflammation.
18. Reduces And Treats Heartburn:
Milk thistle is known to help reduce the symptoms of heartburn. It also reduces the resulted discomfort.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Ease Heartburn ]
19. Reduces Cramps And Pains:
If milk thistle is used regularly over a period of 4 weeks, it will bring relief and respite from nausea, vomiting, cramping and stomach pain.
20. Treats Other Health Problems:
All of the above ailments or problems can be dealt with the use of milk thistle. These are proven by scientific and medical research. There are also a few other problems that can be treated with milk thistle, but the scientific facts and proofs are insufficient. Some of the problems are Malaria, Spleen problems, Gall bladder related problems and swelling of the lungs, commonly known as pleurisy.
Other Benefits Of Milk Thistle:
Both clinical and experimental studies have shown that milk thistle has many other benefits for conditions that are not related to the liver. These benefits include the following:
- Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease by functioning as a therapeutic agent.
- Improves the blood sugar levels in your body.
- Reduces the damage to cells that are caused by exposure to radiation and chemotherapy treatments
- Helps with problems involving indigestion and other intestine-related complaints.
- Helps in reducing the effects of poisoning caused by death cap mushrooms.
- Works as a natural sunscreen and protects your skin against UVB radiation.
As you have just read, there does not seem to be an end to the ways in which this wonderful plant can help improve your health and treat even serious conditions, such as cirrhosis. As more studies are conducted, researchers find out more about the beneficial properties of the milk thistle. With so many benefits, it is no wonder that people from all over the world are choosing to include it in their diet.
Nutritional Value Of Milk Thistle:
Milk thistle contains a bio-flavanoid complex that is called silymarin. It is the primary ingredient of the plant. It is also the active compound that gives the awesome milk thistle its medicinal properties. Silymarin is made up of 3 flavanoids:
- Silybin, which is also known by the name ‘silibinin’.
- Silydianin, which is also known by the name ‘silidianin’.
- Silychristin, also known by the name ‘silicristin’.
The main flavanoid in silymarin is silybin, which makes up about 50% to 70% of milk thistle’s most important extract. Silybin has been studied clinically and researchers have found it to be the most beneficial and biologically-active component of silymarin.
Before extraction, milk thistle’s fruits contain:
- Neo-silyhermin A and B
- Vitamin E
The leaves contain:
- Luteolin’s 7-0-Glucoside
- Triterpene acetate
- Fumaric acid
Milk Thistle And Its Many Forms:
Now that you know the benefits of milk thistle, it is natural to know in what form is it best usable. You may also want to know if it is readily available for use or not.
The answer for this is here – it is easily available in the market in the form of extracts and can be found as tablet, gel, powder, tincture and capsule. Depending on the recommended dosage and usage, you can choose various ways to include it in your daily use.
Ways To Use Milk Thistle In Your Daily Diet:
Milk thistle is a versatile herb that can be consumed in many ways to gain its many benefits. It is found in tablet, capsule, gel, powder and tincture form. Many people purchase milk thistle supplements as they are easily available than it is in its fresh plant form.
Here are some of the ways on how to take milk thistle and make it a part of your daily diet:
Apart from tablet or capsule supplements and tinctures, milk thistle is also available in the form of packaged tea. Each tea bag has all the goodness of this miraculous herb. So, a cup a day can give you all the health benefits. If you have fresh leaves of milk thistle, you can also brew homemade tea with crushed leaves steeped in hot water for about 5 minutes or so. You can add honey for extra goodness and flavor!
2. Diluted Tincture:
If you have milk thistle in tincture form, you can always add it to a glass of water and drink it every morning or evening. All you can need is a few tiny drops of the tincture to benefit from the magical effects of this herb.
3. Seeds In Powder Form:
As you have read, the seeds are the most used part of the milk thistle. If you want to benefit from the potent powers of this herb’s seeds, then you can use it in its powdered form. You can sprinkle the powder to any dish that you cook. It also makes an amazing ingredient for salad dressings, sauces, etc.
4. Milk Thistle Smoothie:
Do you drink a glass of fruit smoothie in the mornings for breakfast? Well, add milk thistle to it! All you need to do is soak some ground seeds of the herb in water overnight and add it to your smoothie in the morning. You could also try it with lyceum berries that have been chopped and put in a blender with some citrus lemon juice! Yummy and oh-so-good for you!
You can add crushed milk thistle seeds or the powder to your daily glass of fruit juice for that extra goodness! How can you not love something that gives your healthy fruit juice more benefits that your body will thank you for?
If you are wondering how much milk thistle you should take in a day, experts recommend about 100 to 250 milligrams a day. Consuming more than this could cause side-effects such as nausea, headache, stomachache, skin irritation and itching. This is why experts advise that you consult your physician before you start adding milk thistle to your diet in its fresh or supplement form. It is especially important to do this if you are taking medication for various ailments or disorders.
When To Avoid Milk Thistle?
Even though milk thistle is loaded with many health benefits and medicinal properties, it is very important to understand that it could also have adverse effect in certain situations and medical conditions.
Given below are few of the medical conditions and situations when you should avoid using milk thistle at all:
1. Avoid If You Pregnant Or Lactating:
Milk thistle is known to have adverse effects on pregnant women and cause problems for lactating women. Even though there is no hard core evidence to establish this as a set fact, doctor’s advice to take precautions to avoid any side effects that could have a life altering impact on the child and the mother, or both.
2. Avoid If You Are Allergic To Asteraceae Or Compositae:
Milk thistle belongs to the family of Asteraceae or Compositae. If you are allergic to any of the plants like daisies, marigolds, ragweed, chrysanthemums, etc., it is advisable to avoid milk thistle. Since there are chances that you may end up with an allergic reaction and need medication to fix it. Also, reach out to your doctor for further advice.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Milk Thistle ]
3. Avoid If You Have Been Advised To Reduce Estrogen:
In case of any disease that is related to the reproductive system, doctor might or could advise you to watch the estrogen level in the body. It is best to avoid milk thistle in such a situation as the plant estrogen might cause problem and complications.
The many wonderful benefits of milk thistle can be obtained when you consume it in its most concentrated form. You can do wonders for your liver, colon and other vital body organs by taking this magical herb. As mentioned earlier, you can use it in different ways to incorporate it into your daily diet. The supplements are also effective in providing you with all the goodness of milk thistle.
With milk thistle, you gain clear and bright skin. Its use remove harmful toxins from your body and provides the overall good health. It also prevents many harmful diseases. For centuries, milk thistle has been used in many parts of the world and it really is one of the best natural healing medicines. Recent studies have proven this and more people are learning about all the different ways that this herb can benefit our bodies.
To keep yourself healthy both internally and externally, include it in your diet. There is no doubt that its potent powers will do your body a world of good and keep you healthy for many years to come.
Do you know any other benefits of milk thistle to add on? Share them by commenting below.
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