Milk thistle, discovered around 2,000 years ago, is one of the best known herbal remedies. This is one of the rare plants that can heal just about 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 which is thought to have medicinal properties. Its spiky purple flowers and large, milk-splotched leaves make it stand out. These plants can grow in height of up to 2 meters.
It got its name from the milky-white substance that oozes when cut from its leaves. The milk-white material, according to legend, has been the milk of the Virgin Mary. Therefore, it was said that the leaves have healing properties.
The seeds of the plant and all its above ground parts have medicinal uses. The other names include artichaut sauvage, cardo lechoso, cardui mariae herba, carduus marianus and silybum.
Where Is The Milk Thistle Plant Found?
Milk thistle originated in Europe and the Mediterranean. However, early colonists have spread the herb to the rest of the world. It is now grown amongst others in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia.
Any warm-climated area can support its development. In the wild, this plant grows relatively well in America.
Related: 5 Home Remedies for Diarrhea
How Does Milk Thistle Help Reduce Liver Inflammation?
Our liver is one of our body’s most important organs. The body would not have been able to function without it, even for a day.
The liver purifies the blood and destroys toxic compounds. It also converts toxins into harmless products, and strengthens the immune system. Those are just a few of the many things which our liver does. This is why liver health is crucial for a healthy body.
Milk thistle is a miracle laborer for people with scarred or damaged livers. This replaces damaged liver cells and defends existing liver cells against damage. Plus, the development of new liver cells is also known to be encouraged.
This also detoxifies the liver by eliminating toxins which are harmful. It processes oxidative substances that are harmful to the liver and, by reducing the pressure on it, allows the liver to remain healthy.
This plant can be quite successful whether it’s hepatitis or inflammatory livers, alcohol damage or liver cirrhosis. Some reports suggest that regular use of the supplement may extend the life expectancy, particularly amongst those with liver cirrhosis.
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.
The milk thistle acts as an anti-inflammatory substance in addition to boosting liver function. It helps in reducing skin and blood vessel inflammation. It decreases cholesterol levels in the blood, too.
This also reduces blood sugar. This can help regulate, or even avoid, diabetes in certain situations.
But this is not all. Work shows it can also avoid other forms of cancers, such as liver cancer. This functions by improving the immune system and mitigating damage to DNA that can also help reverse the development of tumors.
Where Can I Find Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle is sold in most pharmacies. Many natural-food and herbal stores also preserve thistle milk. It is commonly found in capsules, tablets, and tea-bags.
Many beauty and health products also contain milk thistle. Plus, you might also order it online.
Can I Grow Milk Thistle at Home?
Sure, at home you can grow it. The process is quite easy and not much maintenance is required for the plant as well. This is because the plant is drought resistant and therefore, does not require regular watering.
In the spring or fall, plant milk thistle seeds. In high and dry temperatures, it grows very well.
It takes 2-3 weeks to sprout the seeds. Cut the spiky clusters while the plant is blooming. The seeds comprise certain clusters. The seeds differ from the plant. Dry them, and store for use in the future.
Although the plant is easy to grow, the legal considerations must be taken in consideration.
Some states consider it an invasive plant and prohibit domestic planting. It is because it is growing fast and can’t stop its growth. Despite this, it is also poisonous to livestock and other species.
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.
Take one tablespoon of seeds and crush ‘em using a mortar and pestle.
Take a pan and pour four cups of water in it. Put the pan on the stove to boil.
Once the water reaches the boiling point, take the pan off the stove top 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 because it is labeled as an additive and not as a drug. Check the label for the amount of milk thistle that is present in the product you will be eating.
Unfortunately, there is no regular dosage but a reasonable range is said to be between 20 and 300 mg daily.
The intake depends, too, on why you want to use it. For example, if you wish to detox the liver, you can consume 150 mg of milk thistle per day (1-3 times). For liver support, under 150 grams per day would be a good choice.
It’s best to go with a company that allows you to change the amount that you consume. A commodity that provides purity of at least 80% is also a good option.
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.
Before you consume milk thistle, it is also important to get in touch with your doctor as it may react with other medicines.
The most common side effects are not serious include stomach problems and mild allergies.