Who would have thought that a weed with a violet-rose flower could have so many powerful benefits when it comes to your health? There are plenty of milk thistle benefits one of which is its potency as a natural detoxifying agent.

We will look into the top ten proven benefits of milk thistle. Then, let’s take a look at what it is and the components which make it a valuable addition to your diet.

milk thistle benefits

Top 10 Milk Thistle Benefits That Work on Your Health

1. Reduces Fat

As an aid in fat reduction is a major item to add to our list of milk thistle benefits.

According to studies at Chonbuk National University, Korea, the flavanoid silibinin inhibits the development of fat storage and fat storage cells in the body.

2. Assists in Lung Cancer Radiation Treatment

Those who are facing radiation treatment for lung cancer will have a particular interest in this item on our list of milk thistle benefits.

South Korean research points to the effectiveness of silibinin in providing protection for healthy tissue from the effects of radiation. This is possible without reducing the effectiveness of the radiation treatments.

3. Improves Bone Health

Another powerful item among the best milk thistle benefits comes in the form of improving bone health.

Bone formation and restoration enhances through the addition of silibinin in the diet according to a separate Korean study.

4. Increases Milk Production

Italian researchers note that another of the many impressive milk thistle benefits associates with increased milk production in nursing mothers.

Silymarin increases the quantity of milk without decreasing its quality, according to the study.

5. It Is a Promising Cancer Treatment

There are many promising studies that connect to the milk thistle benefits. Some of them show it as a possible treatment for cancer.

One South Korean study related to prostate cancer found that silibinin played a role in inducing the destruction of cancer cells.

6. Antidote for Mushroom Poisoning

Another impressive item on the list of milk thistle benefits is as an antidote for mushroom poisoning. According to the University of Maryland’s overview of milk thistle supplement, it has been the go to antidote for poisoning by death cap mushrooms for a long time.

It is effectively reversing their effects if taken within 10 minutes of ingestion. Moreover, it prevents permanent damage if taken within 24 hours.

7. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Chinese studies indicate that reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart damage can also part of the milk thistle benefits.

The study indicates that silibinin protects against mitochondrial dysfunction and cell injury in heart muscle cells.

8. Treating Diabetes

Another favorable item among milk thistle benefits is the treatment of diabetes. Italian researchers reported that silymarin supplementation can help to reduce cell damage and insulin resistance. More specifically, it is allowing a decrease in the need for insulin administration.

9. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Also among the highly effective milk thistle benefits is its role as an anti-inflammatory agent. Brazilian researchers indicated that silibinin exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties on white blood cells. This is possible by inhibiting inflammatory response enzymes.

10. Improving Liver Health

Not surprisingly, the Nutritional Epidemiology Division of the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services reports that improved liver health is also among the most powerful milk thistle benefits.

As expected, the study reports that silymarin reduced the progression of liver disease from fibrosis to cirrhosis in advanced stages of hepatitis type C subjects.

milk thistle blooming

What You Shoul Know About Milk Thistle

  • Milk thistle is a common weed in California, but is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the asteraceae family which also includes sunflowers and daisies. Moreover, its medicinal qualities were first made use of by the Greek botanist, Dioscorides, nearly 2,000 years ago.
  • Milk thistle contains high concentrations of lipophilic extracts which act as bioflavanoid antioxidants. Among its components are also the vitamins A and E and the minerals magnesium and potassium.
  • The detoxifying compound which is so effective at cleansing the body of toxins is known as silymarin. Silymarin is actually a combination of three flavanoids: silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin.
  • Besides being an potent antioxidant and detoxifier, there are a number of other milk thistle benefits that are backed by scientific research.

A Note of Caution

Though milk thistle is known as being safe, there are a few mild and rare side effects that come with its regular usage for some people. Those side effects include:

  • Diarrhea;
  • Stomach upset;
  • Rash (from touching milk thistle plants);
  • Nausea and vomiting.

People who have allergic reactions to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile, yarrow or daisies should not take it. There are also adverse drug interactions which you need to be aware of. Those interactions include:

  • Antipsychotics: Butyrophenones (like haloperidol) and phenothiazines (like chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, and promethazine);
  • Halothane: A medication which is typically utilized in association with general anesthesia;
  • Phenytoin(Dilantin): An anti-seizure medication;
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.

Milk thistle might also interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications like:

  • Allergy drugs: Like fexofenadine (Allegra);
  • Anti-anxiety drugs: Such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan);
  • Drugs for high cholesterol: Including statins such as lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor);
  • Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners): Such as clopidogrel (Plavix) and warfarin (Coumadin).

The important thing to remember is that before using milk thistle as a therapeutic supplement you should consult with a health care professional. Then, you will have an understanding of the potential risks, interactions and side effects that come with its use and any prescription drugs you might be taking.

A Final Word

Adding this potent supplement to your diet can be effective at helping prevent, control or reverse a number of health conditions. Take advantage of the milk thistle benefits which can boost your overall wellness and promote a longer, healthier lifestyle.

Get started by adding milk thistle to your diet today! Also, share your questions, comments and success stories in the section below.

The images are from pixabay.com.

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