Home Medicinal Plants Milk thistle: Does the medicinal plant help with liver damage

Milk thistle: Does the medicinal plant help with liver damage

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 246 views

Milk thistle is said to help with liver problems due to its ingredients. It is also a traditional medicine for indigestion. However, the study situation on the effectiveness of the medicinal plant is currently not very meaningful. Read everything important about the milk thistle effect and the correct application here!

What are the effects of milk thistle?

Extracts from milk thistle fruits are primarily known for their liver-protecting and liver-regenerating effects. The most important active ingredient is silymarin, a mixture of different plant substances, the flavonolignans. Milk thistle also contains fatty oil and lots of protein .

The alleged positive effect on the liver is based on the fact that milk thistle extracts stabilize the cell membranes and thus prevent cell toxins such as alcohol from penetrating the liver cells or displace them from them. The medicinal plant may therefore help to detoxify the liver.

On the other hand, silymarin can scavenge cell-damaging free radicals (aggressive oxygen compounds), boost protein synthesis and thereby promote the regenerative capacity of the liver cells.

Standardized preparations of milk thistle fruits are used in the case of toxic liver damage (e.g. caused by alcohol or toxins from the death cap mushroom) and to support the treatment of chronic inflammatory liver diseases such as hepatitis. It is also used as a supplement in the case of cirrhosis of the liver.

But: Experts do not agree on how effective the effectiveness of milk thistle is. Rather, liver problems such as fatty liver, liver inflammation or liver cirrhosis must be viewed in a variety of ways. Overall, most of the studies currently available on the effectiveness of milk thistle are flawed and their statements mixed.

Therefore, more research is needed to determine what dose and duration of treatment are required for specific liver diseases. If you have liver problems, always discuss appropriate therapy with a doctor. If an unhealthy lifestyle is the cause of liver disease, the first step should be to change it.

What else is milk thistle good for? There is evidence that the medicinal plant can be helpful in people receiving cancer treatment due to its antioxidant effects. Here, too, the studies are limited.

Milk thistle may also have a positive effect on the skin. Since the medicinal plant has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, it may help with acne. However, further research is needed here.

As a traditional herbal medicine, milk thistle fruits are also used in powder form and other preparations such as capsules for the symptomatic treatment of digestive problems such as a feeling of fullness and flatulence. These findings are based on many years of application.

How is milk thistle used?

The probably liver-protecting and liver-regenerating effect is in the fruits of the plant. Only finished medicinal products with a milk thistle extract, which has a very high content of silymarin, are really effective as liver protection agents. Capsules and tablets are available.

A milk thistle tea made from the dried fruits provides too little silymarin and therefore has no liver-protective effect. However, it can alleviate symptoms caused by impaired bile flow in the liver. Bloating, flatulence, heartburn or other digestive problems improve as a result.

To prepare the tea, one teaspoon each of fennel and milk thistle are crushed in a mortar and poured over an eighth of a liter of hot water . Leave the infusion covered for ten minutes and then strain off the plant parts. You can drink one cup three to four times a day after meals. The addition of fennel is recommended because the pure milk thistle tea tastes quite greasy.

There is also juice, drops and tonic with milk thistle. A tincture is also available. When and how often you take milk thistle preparations is best discussed with your doctor.

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