Benefits of Milk Thistle

by | May 12, 2021 | Adaptogens, Detox, Health & Wellness

Harmful substances are all around us. They’re in the air we breathe, on the food we consume and even the sun’s rays can be damaging to our health. They are just a part of life. We can’t escape environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals, but there are changes we can make to minimize our exposure. Having healthy lifestyle habits like wearing sunscreen, exercising and eating organic, antioxidant rich foods can help. Adaptogens are another way to give yourself that extra boost! Adaptogens help protect our body from environmental stressors. Some adaptogens can also enhance your body’s natural detoxification process by helping it remove toxins and repair cell damage. Milk thistle, in particular, is a potent herb with a protective and detoxifying effect on the body.  This post will give you some info on what exactly milk thistle is and some of the health benefits of milk thistle backed up by scientific research.

At Thrive Remedies we love milk thistle! It’s one of the main ingredients in our Detox Tea. Detox is a blend of adaptogenic herbs known for their detoxifying effect on the liver, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as promoting digestion. 

bottle of detox sitting on rocks
bottle of detox in the sand at a lake

Benefits of Milk Thistle

  • Protects Your Liver
  • Promotes Skin Health
  • Improves Brain Function
  • Increases Breast Milk Production
  • May Help with Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Aid in the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
milk thistle flowers in a wooden bowl

Protects Your Liver

The liver’s primary role is the metabolism of food, alcohol, medicine and toxins. It acts as a filter removing any harmful substances from the blood before sending it to be used by the rest of the body. Milk thistle helps protect the liver by preventing those toxins from attaching to the liver’s cells, reducing liver damage in the process. Milk thistle may also be able to reverse liver damage or “detox” the liver because of its ability to reduce inflammation and repair liver cells. It is often recommended as a complementary treatment for people suffering from liver problems, such as hepatitis C and cirrhosis.

Promotes Skin Health

Milk thistle has an anti-ageing effect due to its high antioxidant content. It helps improve skin texture and tone by reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin discolouration. Consuming antioxidant-rich food helps protect the body’s cells from damage, whether they’re on the inside or out. This means milk thistle may also help protect our skin from UV damage or inflammation. Inflammation is often the cause of several skin-related irritations and diseases, such as acne. One study suggests that milk thistle can be used to help treat acne. Fifty-six people took part in an eight-week clinical trial where they were given milk thistle orally each day. At the end of the trial, participants saw a 53% reduction in acne lesions when compared to those in the placebo group.

Improves Brain Function

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of milk thistle could help protect your brain from age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinsons. Amyloid plaques are a common characteristic in a brain affected by Alzheimer’s. These plaques form between neurons and affect the brain cells function. This is what causes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, like memory loss and difficulty learning, reading, writing and speaking. One study shows that milk thistle significantly reduced amyloid plaques, which improved memory impairments and behaviour. In another study, milk thistle was found to be protective against neuron loss, which is what causes Parkinson’s disease. Nerve cells or neurons die, affecting motor skills and the chemical, dopamine, production. Milk thistles protective effects improved motor function and increased the production of dopamine and serotonin.
milk thistle on a rustic wooden cutting board
milk thistle seeds in a jar with a spoon of milk thistle seeds beside it

Increases Breast Milk Production

Milk thistle may be able to boost breast milk production. Fifty healthy women took part in one study where they were given milk thistle daily for 63 days. At the end of the study, they saw an increase of 85.94% in daily milk production. The placebo group only saw an increase of 32.09%. * Always consult with your doctor before taking any herbal substances if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. *

May Help with Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Milk thistle may be able to help control symptoms of type 2 diabetes. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance in diabetic people. Some medications for diabetes can have undesirable side effects, which could make milk thistle a valuable alternative, but further human studies are needed. In one study, participants were given a daily dose of silymarin for six months. The participants saw a significant reduction in their fasting blood sugar levels and daily blood sugar levels after the second month of treatment. Their need for insulin also decreased by 20%. In another study, 25 participants were given silymarin before meals three times a day. They saw a considerable reduction in their blood sugar levels compared to the placebo group. There was also a reduction in cholesterol, triglycerides, ALT and AST levels.

Aid in the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer

Silymarin may help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, reduce the harmful side effects from cancer treatments and make chemotherapy work more effectively. Further human studies are needed on the effects of milk thistle and silymarin on cancer prevention and treatment, but below are some of the current research findings. Silymarin’s protective effects prevent toxic molecules, like cancer cells or anti-cancer drugs, from attaching to healthy cells in the body. This reduces damage to organs and speeds up the detoxification process after cancer treatments. Cancer cell growth is also inhibited by silymarin. It interrupts different phases of the cell’s life cycle, forcing them to die off. This then allows the anti-cancer drugs to target a greater number of tumour cells, making the treatments more effective.

*** Disclaimer: The content on this website (Thrive Remedies) is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended or suitable in place of advice from your health care practitioner or licensed physician. The information and products on this website should not be used for diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing a health problem, you should always consult a health care provider or licensed physician for advice. ***

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