Top 10 health benefits of milk thistle; researchers suggest that milk thistle is as effective and even superior to pharmaceutical drugs

milk thistle

Milk thistle is a powerful herb used for thousands of years for its great healing and medicinal properties. Milk thistle seed known as Silybum marianum has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can help to detox and cleanse body form accumulation of free radicals and toxins.

Milk thistle (commonly used in its extract or supplement form) can be even superior to pharmaceutical drugs for treatment of variety of health such as liver damage, diabetes, and cancer.

Here are the top ten health benefits of milk thistle:

1. Protecting organs such as liver, gallbladder, pancreas, intestines, and kidneys against damage

Milk thistle known as ‘liver herb’ has powerful antioxidant and flavonoid called silymarin. Milk thistle can protect liver against toxins, damage of free radicals, and drugs. While pharmaceuticals such as Tylenol can cause liver damage, the antioxidant in milk thistle can heal and even help to promote the growth of new liver cells. According to researchers, Silymarin in milk thistle can help to prevent liver cirrhosis in alcoholics. Liver is a major organ in the body and gets damaged quickly and also heals quickly. Studies suggest that milk thistle can be beneficial for a wide range of liver issues such as jaundice, psoriasis, hepatitis, fatty liver, and damage to liver from alcohol.

Milk thistle is great for cleansing the body and preventing gastrointestinal issues and damage to gallbladder, pancreas, intestines and kidneys. Milk thistle can prevent kidney stones and help to get rid of pollution and waste in the body.

2. Powerful antiviral and can fight against infections, in particular hepatitis C

Milk thistle is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral and can effectively fight against infections. One of the leading causes of liver disease is viral hepatitis C. According to researchers, the anti-inflammatory properties of milk thistle can be beneficial against viral hepatitis C.

3. Anti-cancerous properties fighting against skin, prostate and colon cancer

The powerful flavonoid and Silymarin in milk thistle can help to fight against cancer cells. The antioxidant Silymarin in milk thistle is 10 times more effective than vitamin E and can increase the affectivity of two other major antioxidants in the body known as glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD).

According to researchers, Silymarin in milk thistle can fight against prostate cancer. Researchers also suggest that the natural compound in milk thistle known as Silibinin can effectively fight against colon cancer. According to research, slymarin, in milk thistle can protect liver and kidney cells from toxic side effects of drugs and chemotherapy. According to another study published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology, the natural compound in milk thistle known as ‘silibinin’ can help to fight against the growth of skin cancer cells. A recent study published in Molecular Carcinogenesis also suggests that Silibinin in Milk thistle can protect the skin cells from DNA damage caused by harmful UVB radiation of the sun.

4. The powerful anti-inflammatory in milk thistle can fight against rheumatoid arthritis – superior to drugs piroxicam and meloxicam

According to studies, silymarin in milk thistle is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is even superior to drugs piroxicam and meloxicam in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. Researchers suggest that ‘Silymarin reduces the elevated levels of interleukins and complement proteins, when used alone, or in combination with NSAIDs for the treatment of knee OA’.

5. Milk thistle beneficial for diabetes – superior to drug placebo

According to researchers, silymarin in milk thistle improves glycemic index in patients with type II diabetes. Studies suggest that milk thistle can be superior to the drug placebo for improving the blood glucose and lowering cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that milk thistle could also control the level of blood sugar in diabetics. 

6. Lowering the level of bad cholesterol and improving heart health

According to studies, milk thistle can improve heart health by lowering the level of cholesterol and triglycerides. According to researchers, Silymarinin in milk thistle can improve the level of bad cholesterol by increasing the HDL or good cholesterol level. Silymarinin is also known to improve hypertension by reducing the blood pressure.

7. Milk thistle beneficial for neurological issues such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s

Milk thistle is known to be a great neuroprotective and help to lower risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.  In fact, research shows that silymarin in milk thistle can prevent the formation of plaque in the brain from amyloid beta-protein. The toxic amyloid protein buildup in the brain is known to be the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

8. Milk thistle beneficial for treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – superior to drug fluoxetine for treating OCD

Researchers suggest that Silybum marianum in milk thistle is as effective as the drug fluoxetine for treatment of obsessive compulsive behavior. According to researchers, ‘Although a variety of pharmaceutical agents is available for the treatment of OCD, psychiatrists often find that many patients cannot tolerate the side effects of these medications; do not respond properly to the treatment; or the medications lose their effectiveness after a period of treatment. Herbal medicine can be a solution to some of these problems. In fact many herbs such as milk thistle with psychotropic effects exist which can have fewer side effects. Silybum in milk thistle is known to be an alternative for treatment of OCD and could lower obsessive and compulsive symptoms in OCD patients’.

9. Milk thistle has anti-aging effect and is beneficial for skin and can help to fight symptoms of rosacea

According to researchers, the phytochemicals in milk thistle known as silymarin can lower the oxidative stress from UV light and can protect the skin against aging and skin cancer. Studies show that milk thistle can also improve skin conditions such as rosacea. Researchers suggest that milk thistle can prevent skin aging, skin cancer (by inhibiting UV-induced Oxidative Stress), and other damages to the skin such as dark spots, wrinkles, lines and discoloration.

10. Great detox for the body and powerful antidote for mushroom poisoning

Milk thistle is a powerful detox for the body and can cleanse the body against accumulation of toxins and free radicals. In fact, animal studies have shown that taking milk thistle extract can lower the side effect of toxic mushrooms shortly after ingestion.

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