Milky white veins in the leaves account for the name of this relative of the artichoke. Native to Europe, this prickly plant can reach heights of six feet and has gone wild in North America, where it's considered an invasive weed. A very useful weed, though: its ripe fruit is powerful for health.
Potential Health Benefits
Milk thistle fruit can calm a dyspeptic stomach. In refined formulations, it's credited by Commission E and other medical authorities with shielding the liver against invasive toxins such as alcohol and industrial pollutants and even generating new liver cells. This is a good thing: the liver is the body's chief detoxifier. Liver infections, liver health, and inflammatory liver problem are all supported with milk thistle.
More than almost any other herb, milk thistle, which has been widely tested, has scientific bonafides. Its health value is traced to a group of flavonoid compounds collectively known as silymarin. Silymarin toughens the membranes of liver cells against invasive toxins, and may support healthy levels of the body's production of beneficial enzymes.
A 1989 study published in the Journal of Hepatology concluded that milk thistle can be useful in supporting people with cirrhosis or liver infections. An Italian study found that milk thistle reduced damage to the liver brought on by chronic use of prescription drugs, while Swedish doctors have successfully used milk thistle as an antidote for mushroom poisoning.
How to Use the Herb
Because milk thistle's silymarin compounds are not very water-soluble, teas aren't highly recommended. Daily dosage is 12-15 grams of the powdered herb in formulations, equivalent to 200-400 milligrams of silymarin. The best way to take milk thistle is in tablets or capsules; the supplements should be standardized to 70 percent silymarin when using milk thistle for support in chronic hepatic cirrhosis or inflammatory liver problem, according to Commission E. As always, read the product labels.
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Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
Not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
Milk thistle can have a mild laxative effect. There are no other known side effects, contraindications, or drug interactions.
End of More Photographs - Milk Thistle Herb - 450 mg
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."