Milk Thistle in More Detail
Milk thistle, scientifically known as Silybum marianum, is a popular herbal supplement primarily used for its liver-protective effects. People often turn to milk thistle supplements because of silymarin, a group of active compounds found in the seeds of the plant, believed to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are thought to aid in protecting the liver from toxins, including the effects of alcohol, pollution, and heavy metals.
Additionally, milk thistle is often used in the treatment of liver diseases such as cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders. The belief in its detoxifying properties makes it a go-to remedy for those seeking to support liver health, especially in cases of overindulgence in food and alcohol or exposure to environmental toxins.
Apart from liver health, milk thistle supplements are sought after for various other potential health benefits. Some people use milk thistle for its possible protective effects to support heart health by lowering cholesterol levels, and to help manage type 2 diabetes due to its potential to improve insulin sensitivity.
The antioxidant properties of silymarin are also believed to provide benefits for skin health, potentially protecting against ageing and skin damage. Moreover, milk thistle is sometimes used as a complementary therapy to provide support during chemotherapy. However, it's important to note that while there are many anecdotal reports and some supporting studies, not all of milk thistle's purported benefits are backed by strong scientific evidence. As with any supplement, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting to use milk thistle, especially for individuals with existing health conditions or those taking other medications.