Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver problems. Several scientific studies suggest that substances in milk thistle (especially a flavonoid called silymarin) protects the liver from toxins, including certain drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage in high doses. Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may help the liver repair itself by growing new cells.
The benefits of milk thistle are nothing short of amazing. Researchers call it a smart herb because it seems to know when to produce new cells as well as when to halt the production of bad cells, such as cancer cells. How this herb knows when to help regenerate cells and when to keep them from regenerating is still a matter for research, but the benefits to the liver are undeniable.
Liver damaging toxins are everywhere, and we take them in on a daily basis-from the air we breathe to the food we eat. The core ingredient of milk thistle is silymarin, a known antioxidant that can aid the body in a variety of ways.
Milk thistle may aid in the following:
Liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis C
Treatment and prevention of gallstones