Milk thistle is derived from the milk thistle plant. Milk thistle is also known as silymarin or silybum marianum. The flowers of the plant are purple with white veins. Do you know the story behind this? People used to say that the white veins were caused by Virgin Mary’s milk falling onto the plants leaves.
Milk thistle has active ingredients that are called silymarin. The silymarin that is extracted form milk thistle is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
If you are going to take milk thistle, be sure you have checked this out with your health professional first. You do not want to be taking medication that will conflict with milk thistle and vice versa. Milk thistle should be prescribed to you by a health professional because it can interact with other medications and supplements.
It is possible for milk thistle to cause an allergic reaction and this is most common in people who are allergic to plants belonging to the Asteraceae family like daisies and marigolds. Milk thistle can also sometime cause:
- Gastro issues
- Feeling itchy
If a medical professional has recommended you take milk thistle, maybe you are wondering if it is best to take at morning or night?
Since milk thistle can be taken on an empty stomach, you can take it first thing in the morning. Some people believe that if you take it when your stomach is empty then it will work faster. However, you can also take it with a meal. You can take milk thistle in capsule form or in liquid extracts.
13 benefits of milk thistle
Here are thirteen facts about milk thistle:
- It may lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes.
- It is possibly useful in helping to treat acne – however, more research is definitely needed on this one.
- Milk thistle is most commonly taken for liver disorders.
- It can be applied directly to the skin for skin damage caused by radiation.
- Traditionally, it was used as a remedy for neurological conditions.
- Milk thistle may help to prevent or delay bone loss in women who are postmenopausal.
- Milk thistle is thought to boost breast milk production in mothers who are breast feeding.
- Did you know, it has even been used for treating mushroom poisoning?
- Milk thistle may help with fatty liver disease.
- The whole plant can be eaten including the milk thistle stalks, leaves, flowers and roots. The toots and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. However, caution with the sharp leaves…the leaf spines should be removed first.
- Some people use it as an alternative to spinach because of it’s taste and texture.
- You can roast milk thistle seeds the same way coffee beans are processed.
- Milk thistle leaves can be prepared as tea. You may have seen milk thistle tea in the supermarket.
Milk thistle interactions
Caution with taking milk thistle if you have any of the following:
- Are pregnant – there is no data on the safety of taking milk thistle during pregnancy.
- Are allergic to the plant or those in the Asteraceae/Compositae family of plants.
- If you have diabetes – please check with your health professional first as it can have blood sugar lowering effects that could put diabetic people at risk of low blood sugar.
- If you have breast cancer or other types of cancer, once again please consult your medical professional. Milk thistle can have estrogenic effects and that can impact some hormone sensitive conditions.
- Those who are taking hepatitis C medication or immunosuppressant medication as it can change the way your body processes the medication which may lead to complications.
Other questions about milk thistle
Does milk thistle make you poop?
Actually, it can. Milk thistle, as I mentioned above can cause gastrointestinal issues including diarrhoea. If you take a high dose of milk thistle then you may experience this…
Tudca vs milk thistle – which is better?
Both are used for treating liver conditions. They both have their own benefits and problems. You should discuss with your health professional if you are deciding between the tudca or milk thistle.
Milk thistle has been used for thousands of years. Have you tried it? Or do you have any other interesting facts about milk thistle?