Did you know that this one plant called Milk Thistle is unique in its ability to protect the liver and has no equivalent in the pharmaceutical drug world? It has been so drastically beneficial that the treatment has never been disputed, even by the traditional medical community.
Milk Thistle is a plant native to the Mediterranean region that has been used for its medicinal properties since the 1st century AD. John Gerard, a sixteenth-century English herbalist, said this about milk thistle. “My opinion,” he wrote, “is that this is the best remedy that grows, against all melancholy diseases.”
According to studies, milk thistle may protect the cells of the liver by blocking the entrance of harmful toxins, and remove these toxins from liver cells. As an antioxidant, milk thistle works to maintain health and energy by protecting the body against free radicals.
The active ingredient, or liver-protecting compound in milk thistle is known as silymarin. This substance, which actually consists of a group of compounds called flavonolignans, helps repair liver cells damaged by alcohol and other toxic substances by stimulating protein synthesis.
One study in particular concerning workers exposed to toxic chemicals for 5-20 years showed significant improvement to overall liver function when given a standardized Milk Thistle extract (80% silymarin) for 30 days.
A comprehensive review by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently identified 16 scientific studies on the use of milk thistle for the treatment of various forms of liver disease.
Milk thistle also repairs our liver from the harmful effects of alcohol, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and other toxic substances.
Silymarin may also have anti-cancer benefits. The University of Maryland found that it stops cancer cells from proliferating, also shortening their life span and reducing blood supply to tumors.
Integrative Oncology Essentials notes that milk thistle has been shown to have anti-cancer activity for numerous cancer cell types, including:
- and skin cancers