I have a fondness for any type of thistle plant, with it being Scotland’s national flower. Milk thistle not only reminds me of that bonnie country, it also offers powerful properties that benefit my body.
What is Milk Thistle?
This flowering herb is native to the Mediterranean region and it is a member of the Aster plant family, which includes sunflowers and daisies. Milk thistle has been used medicinally for thousands of years. The Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides was the first to describe milk thistle’s healing properties back in the year 40 AD.
Milk thistle gets its name from the milky-white liquid that beads up on the plant’s leaves when they’re crushed. The leaves have a spotted white pattern as well that makes them look as if they’ve been dipped in milk.
Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, is an antioxidant that protects against the depletion of glutathione, which is a “master antioxidant” that’s extremely important in preventing disease. Glutathione helps fight oxidative stress that can lead to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases. It also prevents damage caused by free radicals to important cellular components.
The typical American diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections and radiation all affect liver function and also deplete glutathione in the body. Milk thistle increases glutathione levels by improving liver detoxification. Milk thistle also strengthens the liver cell walls, protecting them from toxins, and supports liver regeneration and glutathione formation.
Benefits of Milk Thistle
This herb offers the following health benefits:
• Detoxifies the liver by rebuilding liver cells while removing toxins from the body that are processed by the liver.
• Aids the function of the gallbladder, kidneys and spleen and helps to prevent gallstones by ridding the body of metabolic wastes.
• Controls blood sugar, which can help prevent diabetes.
• Slows the aging process due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to prevent heart disease, cancer, liver and kidney disease, and age related vision problems. Milk thistle nourishes the skin and eases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Lowers high cholesterol.
• Boosts the immune system and fights DNA damage
How to Take Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is available in capsule form, as seeds, or dried for tea. To make tea, brew dried thistle in very hot water for at least 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey if desired.
Milk thistle is available in health food stores and health conscious grocery store and online. See links below.
While milk thistle is excellent for detoxing the liver and fortifying the immune system, it does my heart good as well. It’s very name transports me back to a country I dearly love. More thistle tea, please.
Order milk thistle by clicking the links below.
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