The Health Research on Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle has enjoyed a long history (dating as far back as 2,000 years) of use by health practitioners to treat liver ailments, gall bladder disorders, peritonitis, allergies and other conditions. Milk thistle has even recently been suggested as a possible treatment for cancer. But is there real medicinal value to this old herbal remedy? Research confirms that milk thistle indeed has some health benefits due to the antioxidant compounds found in its ripe seeds. These compounds: silychristin, isosilybin, silybin, and silydianin, make up the flavanoid referred to as silymarin. According to current research, thanks to its silymarin content, milk thistle provide a number of bonified health benefits.

 Milk thistle protects your liver: Silymarin, due to its antioxidant properties, has been shown to inhibit oxidation in the liver. Oxidation can lead to damaged liver cells, which in turn can seriously impact your liver’s health function. Studies have also shown that silymarin has anti-inflammatory properties that help keep liver cells and tissue healthy. Research also suggests that silymarin can block toxins and/or remove toxins from liver cells, thereby helping to detoxify the liver.

 Milk Thistle may offer allergy relief: Some research suggests that combining extract of milk thistle with an antihistamine may offer greater symptom relief compared to taking antihistamine alone.

Milk Thistle may help protect against some types of cancer: Some preliminary lab studies suggest that milk thistle may help protect against skin cell damage resulting from exposure to ultraviolent radiation (from sunlight) and environmental carcinogens, both of which may contribute to skin cancer. Some clinical trials also suggest that the silymarin in milk thistle may directly inhibit the growth of other cancerous cells, such as breast cancer cells, cervical cancer cells, colorectal cells and prostate cancer cells.

Milk thistle may improve the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy drugs: Some lab trials have demonstrated that administering silybin, a chemical compound in silymarin, during chemotherapy treatment may improve the treatment’s effectiveness in reducing the growth of breast cancer cells and ovarian cancer cells.

Research is still underway as to the full extent of milk thistle’s efficacy, but the results point to positive health benefits for the human body. Milk thistle may help fight certain cancers, improve the effectiveness of some types of chemotherapy drugs and help relieve allergy symptoms. Plus, milk thistle’s antioxidant properties spell better health for your cells-and healthy cells mean a healthier you!

References: Cancer.govCancer.orgMedlinePlus 

Originally posted 2013-10-15 10:31:00.

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