7 Milk Thistle Uses to Improve Your Health

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), a member of the Asteraceae family, is a therapeutic herb with a 2000-year history of use in traditional Chinese, European, and Ayurvedic medicine. Originally native to Southern Europe, Asia Minor, and the Mediterranean region, the plant now grows wild throughout the world. In addition to being one of the most commonly used supplements for supporting liver health, milk thistle also offers specialized nutrition for the cardiovascular system, prostate, and gallbladder. High-quality, organic milk thistle is inexpensive, readily available, and should be on your list. Let’s take a look at seven exciting ways milk thistle supports good health.

1. Assists Antioxidant Activity

The health benefits of milk thistle lie in its seeds, the extract of which is called silymarin. Silymarin is a potent antioxidant. The extract contains natural compounds called flavonolignans, which are phytochemicals that are part flavonoid and part lignan. Silibinin is the most active flavonolignan in silymarin. While silibinin itself is a strong antioxidant, silymarin is 8-10 times more potent than silibinin alone in scavenging free radicals.[1]

2. Nutritional Support for the Liver and Gallbladder

Milk thistle’s foremost role in traditional medicine is to support liver and gallbladder health. The liver is one of your body’s primary organs for detoxification. Maintaining its proper function is critically important to overall wellness. Milk thistle is one of the best herbs you can use Nature’s Bounty ... Buy New $8.63 ($0.04 / Count) (as of 11:20 UTC - Details) to promote liver health. Silymarin helps the liver grow new cells by boosting protein synthesis.[1] Animal testing has revealed that silymarin may counteract some toxin-induced liver ailments.[2]

3. Encourages Normal Lipid Profiles

Milk thistle may support normal lipid profiles. Early research suggests that silymarin, combined with other flavonoids, may promote ideal lipid absorption and synthesis in the body. The exact mechanism behind these properties is unknown, although it may relate to the herb’s strong antioxidant properties.[1]

4. Promotes Healthy Skin

Topical preparations of milk thistle extract may offer beneficial effects for the skin. Animal studies have found that silymarin encourages normal skin cell development in mice.[3] One purely observational study concluded that a topically-applied, silymarin-based skin cream effectively encourages healthy skin.[4] Preliminary investigations have even begun to examine the potential of silymarin as a natural replacement for conventional sunscreen.[5]

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