Sunday, June 12, 2011

Milk Thistle – Monograph

Common Name – Milk Thistle

Botanical Name – Silybum Marianum

Parts Used – Seeds and Leaves

Active Constituents – A bioflavonoid called Silymarin is what gives the plant is therapeutic abilities. Silymarin is made up of silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin. Silibinin is the most active and is largely responsible for the benefits attributed to silymarin.

So what is Milk Thistle good for?

Milk thistle is believed to keep the liver cells healthy by blocking the entrance of harmful toxins and also helping to remove these toxins from the liver cells. Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant as well. Milk thistle also helps to regenerates injured liver cells.

The leaves of milk thistle are used for common stomach problems like lack of appetite and dyspepsia. The seeds of the plant are used for liver, gallbladder, and spleen problems as well as for jaundice and gallstone colic.

A recent study has found that milk thistle may offer some protection against the toxic side effects of the common painkiller acetaminophen.

Milk Thistle may also help nursing mothers to produce more milk.

People who suffer from liver disease and impaired liver function should take 420 mg of silimarin per day from an herbal extract of milk thistle standardized to 70-80% silymarin content. Improvement should be noted in about 8 to 12 weeks. When that occurs, reduce to intake to 280 mg of silymarin per day. The lower amount also may be used for preventive measures. Milk thistle seeds can be ground and eaten or made into a tea but for the treatment of liver problems a standardized extract is best.

Contraindication – Milk Thistle has been found to be very safe and can be taken even by pregnant and lactating women.

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