Milk Thistle is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East, and its fruit and seeds have been used for thousands of years, for many different ailments, as a herbal remedy. Ancient Greeks and Romans would use Milk Thistle to treat things like snake bites, while it was used as a remedy for liver toxins during the Middle Ages. It wasn’t until 1968 that Silymarin was extracted from the seeds and pinpointed as the active ingredient. It was this ingredient that was found to have the anti-oxidant effects.
It is suggested that Milk Thistle protects liver cells by blocking harmful toxins and neutralising any toxins that do break through. It has also been shown that it helps to regenerate liver cells. It is commonly recommended for use for liver problems such as abuse of the liver with alcohol. It is thought that some of the other ailments Milk Thistle can help with are gallstones, cirrhosis, hepatitis, high cholesterol and even cancer. Silymarin stimulates the liver and produces more bile, and as a result people have reported a detoxing and slight laxative effect for the first few days. This in turn is said to help with clearer skin and urine function, as all of these things can be connected to liver function.
There are many ways you can include Milk Thistle into your diet. Holland and Barrett sell it in the form of liquid extracts and capsules, so you can incorporate into your lifestyle in a way that is convenient for you. Liver disease can be caused by many different factors, and although Milk Thistle can be effective, it cannot do its job while the body is being abused. It is a natural remedy and therefore should supplement a healthy diet and lifestyle as opposed to being used as a quick-fix for an unhealthy lifestyle.