Milk thistle is a herbaceous plant with spiky leaves and lovely purple flowers. Though it’s classified as a weed, it’s actually abundant in healing properties that you may not be aware of.
This powerful medicinal herb boasts a rich history of therapeutic use.
Native to the Mediterranean, it has an amazing range of health benefits to offer.
It’s praised for its anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and anticancer properties and it’s also said to be good for the health of the liver.
Milk Thistle: So Much More than a Simple Weed?
Oftentimes, milk thistle is considered a weed because it’s quite resilient and can thrive in different environments.
Its reproductive capacity is also amazing. The plant produces various seeds which can quickly populate an area. This plant is toxic to livestock if they consume it in large amounts.
The plant tends to form dense stands in rangeland and pastures. If ingested by cattle and sheep, it can cause nitrate poisoning. The plant also has spiky leaves and can reach an impressive height. This is why it’s not always desirable in some landscapes.
It’s because of this domination that milk thistle isn’t intentionally cultivated and became classified as a weed in both agricultural and gardening contexts.
The Power of the Active Compound Silymarin in Milk Thistle
Silymarin is the active compound in milk thistle and is responsible for its abundance of health benefits. This powerful antioxidant keeps the liver safe from damage associated with free radicals, toxins, and inflammation.
It also promotes the regeneration of liver cells, boosts the detox processes, and impedes cancer cell growth.
Its anti-inflammatory power is one of the main reasons why thistle is such an important natural cure.
How Milk Thistle Helps with Inflammation & Liver Issues
Inflammation is one of the major culprits for various chronic illnesses, including liver diseases.
The anti-inflammatory properties of this plant make it a potent ally in the fight against health issues caused by excessive inflammation.
According to studies, silymarin helps reduce liver inflammation, avert liver damage linked with toxins and alcohol, and better the liver functioning in individuals who have cirrhosis or hepatitis.
How Milk Thistle Helps with Diabetes
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of milk thistle, it can be of aid for diabetic individuals.
What’s more, silymarin has been found effective in improving insulin resistance, promoting glucose control, and lowering oxidative stress in people with diabetes.
How Milk Thistle Relieves the Symptoms of OCD
OCD is a mental health condition associated with repetitive behaviors and intrusive thoughts. Research has found that milk thistle may provide relief for people with this condition.
The antioxidant power of silymarin may help in the regulation of the neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin which plays a huge role in the regulation of mood.
How Milk Thistle Helps in the Fight Against Cancer
Silymarin has been found promising in terms of its anticancer properties that can be used in the fight against different types of tumors, including colon, lung, breast, and prostate.
Moreover, it also impedes the growth of cancerous cells, leads to cancer cell death, and may even strengthen the effectiveness of some chemo medications while decreasing their toxic side effects.
Despite the emerging data from studies on milk thistle’s anti-cancer properties, more studies and clinical trials are necessary to get the full scope of this plant’s power and effectiveness in the treatment of cancer.