Monday, May 9, 2011

Silybum marianum and liver disorder

Silybum marianum, a plant of the Asteraceae family. Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world.
Its potent extract is used in medicine under the name silymarin. Milk thistle extract comes from the milk thistle herb which is a spiny leaved plant with pink flowers. It is quiet common & has been used for thousands of years to cleanse the liver, most notably it has been used to relieve congestion of the liver, spleen, and kidneys.
Many other benefits of milk thistle have also been noted of late. Milk thistle or silymarin can protect the liver from damage from a variety of sources including alcohol, viruses, toxins & even certain drugs. Many people will use milk thistle & IP6 at some time during the year to ensure that their bodies are toxin free.  Milk thistle extract contains a substance called silymarin which is also being studied worldwide for its alleged anti cancer properties. The first of these studies found that the compound silymarin has strong antioxidant properties which can inhibit the growth of breast, prostate & cervical cancers, however these tests have only been performed in test tubes to date & further studies will need to be carried out on people with these diseases, however, it does look promising.
In herbalism, it is used in cases of  liver diseases such as hepatitis, jaundice and cirrhosis and also gallbladder disease, and is claimed to protect the liver against poisons. A 2005 Cochrane Review considered thirteen randomised clinical trials which assessed milk thistle in 915 patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. They question the beneficial effects of milk thistle for patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases and highlight the lack of high-quality evidence to support this intervention. Cochrane concluded more good quality randomised clinical trials on milk thistle versus placebo are needed.
Many of these health professionals now recommend this amazing herb for the prevention or treatment of many milder liver disorders including liver damage from drugs & alcohol, fatty liver, viral hepatitis & even liver damage caused by industrial toxins. In general, millions of people who are healthy use milk thistle supplements every day to rid their bodies of toxins which can accumulate in the liver or to prevent toxins from forming there in the first place. The benefits of taking milk thistle supplements are many & will enhance your health and your lifestyle for many years to come.
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