Herbal Supplements
Milk Thistle Benefits on the Liver and Gallbladder

Milk thistle has a reputation of the weed among some people. No wonder: its leaves and flowers resemble those of an ordinary thistle and its habit of spreading easily and occupying every spare bit of ground can explain such a mistake. Nevertheless, many more people, including numerous scientists, are positive that this herb should be highly praised because of its ability to provide health benefits in the human organism.

Such claims are not just hollow words – they are proved by many scientific studies, the majority of which was conducted in Europe – the Motherland of the plant. Moreover, experts confirm that milk thistle is one of the best-studied herbs on Earth.

Consequently, it has been a long time since scientists defined the plant’s ingredients, the main being silymarin – a complex chemical substance (it belongs to the class of flavonolignans), consisting of silybinin, silydianin and silychristin, collectively named isoflavonolignans. The highest concentration of these chemicals is found in the milk thistle's seeds. That is why they are the object of scientific research and medicinal value.

The herb’s components interest modern science as they are said to promote kidneys and spleen protection, and to be especially beneficial for the liver and gallbladder.

Though milk thistle does not cure any liver disease, it is a powerful hepatoprotectant, which helps reduce the harmful influence of viruses (especially hepatitis C), toxins (industrial chemicals and alcohol) and certain medications (acetaminophen, phenytoin, and halothane) on this vitally important organ.

The plant's active component silymarin protects liver, preventing the penetration of harmful elements into its cells. In addition, milk thistle stimulates protein synthesis, thus increasing the formation of the new cells. Finally, it acts as an anti-oxidant, while inhibiting inflammatory enzymes.

Therefore, the liver gets milk thistle’s protection from chronic hepatitis, since it reduces inflammation; fatty liver disease and cirrhosis due to the alcohol abuse, because the herb softens the tissues; and from the damage caused by medications, while promoting new liver cells production. The plant is also believed to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, thus being a mighty anti-cancer option.

Milk thistle is also a good gallbladder tonic. It softens its tissues, increases bile flow, and reduces inflammation of the gallbladder. There is an important warning here, however: those, who suspect to have gall stones, should avoid using the plant preparations before the consultation with a professional, who will be able to determine the number and size of the stones. The matter is that milk thistle is a demulcent, able to promote clearing of any stagnation in the gallbladder. However, some stones may be too large to pass through the organ’s passages.

It is true that we have the answers to the majority of questions about milk thistle. The herb seems so familiar, effective, and safe. However, every organism reacts its own way in every situation. Our health is not what we can risk and make experiments on. Therefore, it is always necessary to consult a doctor or an experienced herbalist before using any traditional remedy.

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mushing1
2010-03-29 17:03:56
Will this help with acid reflux caused by the gall blader?
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More About Milk Thistle...

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