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.
Benefits Of Milk Thistle 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. Prevents Acne, Eczema, Etc:
Milk thistle helps in the production of bile in the intestinal tract, thus promoting proper bowel function by acting as a mild laxative. When your bowel movements are normal, your skin naturally gets the benefits.
The 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 you to have great skin and keep skin problems at bay.
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.
4. Hydrates And Softens Skin:
As mentioned earlier, milk thistle has demulcent properties. It is these properties that help in hydrating and softening the dry skin. Your skin will improve dramatically, become more smooth and supple with the intake of the wonderful milk thistle.
5. Clears Skin:
Milk thistle is also a blood purifier. The blood cleansing makes your skin clear and bright. Pimples, etc. are eliminated, making your skin smooth and healthy.
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.
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.
Benefits Of Milk Thistle 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:
7. 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. The herb’s antioxidant property is said to be effective in the protection of hair follicles.
8. 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.
Benefits Of Milk Thistle 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.
9. 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
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:
- Lowering of the cholesterol levels, hence its consumption benefits your heart.
- Reducing cancer cell growth in the body, preventing colon, prostate, breast, lung, renal and cervical cancers.
- Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease by functioning as a therapeutic agent.
- Improves the blood sugar levels in your body.
- Delays aging with its antioxidant and other anti-aging properties.
- Reduces the damage to cells that are caused by exposure to radiation and chemotherapy treatments
- Helps in the reduction of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, etc.
- 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
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 that you can 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.
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.