Milk thistle is one of the best-known herbal remedies, discovered about 2,000 years ago. It is one of those rare herbs that can cure almost everything.
It’s said to decrease aging while controlling diabetes and benefiting the liver. It’s specifically known to reduce inflammation.
What Is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle is a plant believed to have medicinal qualities. It stands out due to its spiky purple flowers and large milk-splotched leaves. These plants can grow up to 2 meters in height.
It got its name from the milky-white substance that oozes from its leaves when cut. According to mythology, the milk-white substance was the Virgin Mary’s milk. This is why the leaves were said to have healing properties.
The plant’s seeds and all its parts aboveground have medicinal purposes. Its other names include artichaut sauvage, cardo lechoso, cardui mariae herba, carduus marianus, and silybum.
Where Is The Milk Thistle Plant Found?
Milk thistle was native to Europe and the Mediterranean. But, early colonists spread the herb to the rest of the world. It is now grown in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Australia, among others.
Any area with a warm climate can support its growth. In America, this plant grows quite well in the wild.
How Does Milk Thistle Help Reduce Liver Inflammation?
Our liver is one of the most vital organs of our body. Without it, the body would not be able to function, even for a day.
The liver cleans the blood and destroys harmful substances. Besides that, it converts toxins into harmless materials and boosts the immune system. These are only some of the many things our liver does. This is why liver health is crucial for a healthy body.
For people with scarred or damaged livers, milk thistle is a miracle worker. It heals damaged liver cells and protects existing liver cells from damage. Plus, it’s also known to encourage the creation of new liver cells.
Furthermore, it detoxifies the liver by removing harmful toxins. It processes oxidative substances, which are harmful to the liver, which helps the liver stay strong by reducing the burden on it.
Be it hepatitis or inflammatory livers, alcohol damage or liver cirrhosis, this plant can be quite effective. Some reports suggest that regular use of the supplement may extend life expectancy especially among people with cirrhosis of the liver.
Great for Seniors
Here are a few reasons why milk thistle is considered a good option for seniors:
- Improved Age-Related Mental Illnesses: it’s said to improve brain health and reduce the risk of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
- Delays Osteoporosis: It strengthens the bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It reduced bone loss and is said to be a good option to delay bone loss in postmenopausal women.
- Delays Aging: It has anti-aging It can prevent wrinkled skin, acne, spots, lines, and discoloration.
Apart from boosting liver function, milk thistle acts as an anti-inflammatory substance. It helps reduce inflammation of the skin and blood vessels. This also lowers blood cholesterol levels.
It also reduces blood sugar levels. This can help control, or in some cases, even prevent diabetes.
But this is not all. Research shows that it can prevent some types of cancers as well, like liver cancer. It works by boosting the immune system and fighting DNA damage which can even help reverse tumor growth.
Where Can I Find Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle is available at most drugstores. Most natural-food and herbal stores also keep milk thistle. It is often found in the form of capsules, tablets, and tea-bags.
A lot of health and beauty products also contain milk thistle. Plus, you may even be able to order it online.
Can I Grow Milk Thistle at Home?
Yes, you can grow it at home. The process is quite easy and the plant also does not require a lot of maintenance. This is because the plant is resistant to drought, hence does not require regular watering.
Plant milk thistle seeds in the spring or autumn. It grows very well in high and dry temperatures.
It takes about 2-3 weeks for the seeds to sprout. When the plant has bloomed, remove the spiky clusters. These clusters contain the seeds. Separate the seeds from the plant. Dry them and store for future use.
While the plant is easy to grow, you need to be careful about legal considerations.
Some states consider it an invasive plant and prohibit its plantation at home. This is because it grows fast, and its growth can be impossible to stop. In addition to this, it is also toxic to livestock and some animals.
How Do I Use Milk Thistle for Inflammation?
You can use milk thistle in a variety of methods. You can take it in the following forms:
Tablets, capsules, and powder will come with instructions on how to use it. It is very important to be aware of the right dosage.
You can use milk thistle seeds by sprinkling them over your salad or soup. Milk thistle tea is also quite popular.
How to Make Milk Thistle Tea
The steps below outline how to make milk thistle tea.STEP 1
Take one tablespoon of seeds and crush ‘em using a mortar and pestle.STEP 2
Take a pan and pour four cups of water in it. Put the pan on the stove to boil.STEP 3
Once the water reaches the boiling point, take the pan off the stovetop and add the seeds to it. Now, let the seeds sit in the hot water for about 20 minutes.
Use a sieve to separate the seeds from the water. The tea might be a bit bitter. You can add a few drops of honey to improve the taste.
How Much Milk Thistle Can I Take?
The FDA does not oversee milk thistle since it is categorized as a supplement and not as a drug. Make sure to check the label for the amount of milk thistle present in the product you are going to consume.
Unfortunately, there is no standardized dosing but between 20 to 300mg daily is said to be a good option.
The intake also depends on why you wish to use it. For example, you can consume 150mg of milk thistle per day (1-3 times) if you want to detox the liver. For liver support, under 150 grams per day would be a good choice.
It is best to go for a company that lets you adjust the amount you are consuming. Also, a product that offers at least 80% purity is a good choice.
Are There Any Side-effects?
Milk thistle is usually considered very safe. In fact, according to this study, only about 1% of users reported of side effects. However, it is best to stay away from it if you are:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Allergic to ragweed and other such plants.
- Dealing with hormone-sensitive conditions.
It’s also important to get in touch with your doctor before you consume milk thistle as it may react with other medicines.
The most common side effects are not serious and include gastrointestinal issues and minor allergies.
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