One of my favourite plant supplements: Milk Thistle! This plant has helped me so many times!
Milk thistle has been used for more than 2,000 years as a treatment for liver and gallbladder disorders, especially “when the eyes and skin turneth yellow”, an early reference to jaundice and liver disease. These historical writings spurred researchers to study the usefulness of milk thistle for hepatitis, cirrhosis, and toxin- or drug-induced liver damage. Science has confirmed that compounds in milk thistle called flavonolignans (collectively referred to as silymarin) protect liver cells from damage caused by alcohol, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and the very poisonous deathcap mushroom (Amanita phalloides). In fact, special preparations of silymarin are available in European emergency rooms to use as an antidote for mushroom poisoning. It is not surprising then that Germany’s Commission E., which studies the safety and efficacy of herbs, recommends milk thistle for liver damage caused by toxins or cirrhosis of the liver and as therapy for liver inflammation.
Milk thistle and its active compounds are undergoing research in the U.S. and abroad. According to the National Cancer Institute, silymarin protects the liver by preventing toxins from entering cells and by revving up enzymes that detoxify toxins in the liver. Silymarin can protect liver cells during chemotherapy and appears to boost the effect of certain chemotherapy drugs. Protective effects of milk thistle may extend even beyond the liver. Researchers have found that it shields the kidney against injury from drugs and radiation and prevents ultraviolet damage to the skin.
No contraindications are associated with this herb, even in substantial dosages. Milk thistle has been extensively used in Europe. And many studies have shown it to be safe. While it was once thought that milk thistle might interact with certain medications, recent human studies have failed to demonstrate any interaction with oral dosing. Despite its safety, individuals who have liver disease or are being treated for cancer should discuss the use of any dietary supplement with their health care provider. [disclaimer]
Excerpt from National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs – The world’s most effective healing plants, (2012), pages 168-169.
I use this plant whenever I feel like I’m not digesting properly, or if I’ve eaten a rich meal or drank some alcohol, or if I’m feeling bloated. I really like this brand in Canada for high quality certified organic plant supplements, because just as I eat organic food to avoid pesticides, GMOs, etc., I wouldn’t want to take supplements that contain these.