Milk thistle, the plant of the liver and digestion
Milk thistle, Silybum marianum, takes its name from a Christian legend that the Virgin Mary hid the child Jesus under a large thistle to protect him from Herod's soldiers, even while she was breastfeeding him. A few drops of her milk would have fallen on a leaf of the plant, giving it its veins and white spots.
Legend at the time supported the idea that milk thistle favoured lactation and concealed its hepatoprotective properties for a long time, although they had been known since ancient times.
REDECOVERED IN THE SIXTY YEARS
It was not until the 1960s that official medicine recognized the hepatoprotective properties of milk thistle fruit (several drugs now use their active ingredients). These fruits, which grow on the plant in late spring, are shiny achenes containing three substances, known as silymarin, which are very beneficial for different types of digestive disorders such as dyspepsia (difficult digestion, whatever the cause).
AN OUTSTANDING DETOXIFIER
Phytotherapeutics that support the liver are of the utmost importance to ensure detoxification of the body, especially for those with existing liver dysfunction or who have had known exposure to toxins. In fact, these hepatoprotective plants are excessively versatile and effective in detoxifying the body from a wide range of toxins, from synthetic chemicals to acetaminophen, alcohol, heavy metals and even radiation. More specifically, milk thistle is known to increase glutathione levels in the liver by up to 35% (glutathione being a universal antioxidant, considered the body's master detoxification system). Silymarin in milk thistle increases, superoxide dismutase (SOD), another important antioxidant enzyme needed to fight free radicals.
HELP TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL
The liver is responsible for the production of endogenous cholesterol. As such, it is not surprising that plants that affect the liver also invariably have an effect on cholesterol. Milk thistle has beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, helps reduce cholesterol levels by modulating inflammation throughout the body, cleansing the blood and preventing oxidative damage in the arteries. Science has shown that when milk thistle is used in combination with other traditional treatment methods, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels all improve significantly.
HIS DIGESTIVE HEALTH ACTION
Milk thistle also supports the endocrine and gastrointestinal systems by helping to produce bile and enzymes. In addition, it helps to purify the body of metabolic waste, thus regulating the function of the gallbladder, kidneys and spleen, thus supporting overall digestion.