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Milk Thistle Seed

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Milk Thistle Seed - Silybum marianum

The active component of milk thistle is silymarin, a unique bioflavonoid with potent antioxidant and liver protective properties especially relating to the liver.

Milk thistle extract has long been valued for its role in ensuring healthy liver function, and it is also a powerful antioxidant.

Silymarin is an active component of the extract of milk thistle (Silybum marianum), a member of the Compositae or daisy family.30 Silymarin is considered a flavonolignan mixture which is a unique type of bioflavonoid and an antioxidant that scavenges damaging free radicals. Scientific studies show that oral supplementation with silymarin can help support liver function. Silymarin has been shown to combat lipid peroxidation in the liver. It has also been demonstrated that silymarin may help promote healthy liver cells.

The liver is the largest gland in the body and has a number of important functions including, but not limited to, those involving digestion and energy production. However, the liver is most commonly known for its remarkable ability to act as the body’s detoxifier. Poor liver function can be related to the cumulative exposure to environmental pollutants, pesticides and other toxins, an improper or poor diet and the ingestion of drugs including prescriptive, illicit and over-the-counter drugs. Also included in the drug category is alcohol which is a drug which is particularly toxic to the liver.

This herb served as a therapy for conditions we would now recognize as ascites, congestive heart failure, various kidney diseases, and hepatitis. In Catholic Germany, its usefulness was said to be second only to calling on Mother Mary, and the white mottling on the leaf said to be the touch of the Virgin Mary's milk, hence the species name "marianum". When an herb is used to treat a serious health condition, the whole herb often has a more balanced effect. The milk thistle extract silymarin, for instance, has proven usefulness in treating liver disease. The drawback to using silymarin is that, if the doctor prescribes other drugs, such as steroids, silymarin can interfere with the liverÍs ability to detoxify them. Milk thistle seed has the same healing effect on the liver without interfering with the organ's ability to detoxify drugs or environmental chemicals, and a side benefit of normalizing blood lipids as the liver heals.

Silybum marianum is a milk thistle, is an annual or biannual plant of the Asteraceae family. This fairly typical thistle has red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins. Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world. The medicinal parts of the plant are the ripe seeds.

Cautions for Milk Thistle

Like silymarin extract, milk thistle seed can cause mild diarrhea by stimulating the release of bile. This effect is most notable if there is a high-fat diet.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.