Milk thistle – gentle medicine for the liver

The milk thistle originally comes from the warm countries around the Mediterranean Sea and Asia Minor. But it also grows in sunny and nutrient-rich places. The plant can be recognized by the white marbled leaves, which are surrounded by small thorns.  In old herbal books, the use of a thistle infusion is used to stimulate the flow of milk, but is also recommended against stinging in the abdomen, bleeding, cramps or hot  flushes  . Milk thistle owes its current use as a gentle liver therapy to the country doctor Rademacher, who recognized its importance in 1848. He also realized that the active ingredients are just under the skin of the seed-like fruit.

The liver as a detoxification organ

In addition to the production of bile, our liver has to manage the entire digestive metabolism and a large number of “detoxification reactions”. It absorbs and breaks down alcohol, environmental pollutants, food additives and medicines. Aggressive, so-called free radicals are formed that attack the cell walls of the organ.

If the liver is permanently overloaded, natural cell renewal cannot keep up. The liver becomes fatty and cannot fulfill its tasks. Sometimes this process is also accompanied by inflammation. At the end of the development there is  cirrhosis of the liver , in which more and more functional cells are replaced by scarred connective tissue.

Not only toxins, but also sumptuous and greasy food or certain pathogens can cause problems for the liver. Unfortunately, for a long time there are no noticeable signs of illness or pain that could warn the affected person at an early stage. Anyone who thinks that their liver could be at risk should therefore consult a doctor in good time.

Active ingredients of milk thistle

An extract can be obtained from the fruits of the milk thistle that can prevent liver damage and is said to help regenerate an attacked liver. Responsible for the protective effect is a complex of four different flavonolignans, which is called silymarin  , based on the scientific name of milk thistle “Silybum marianum”  .

Studies show: Silymarin intercepts free radicals that occur during detoxification in the liver and thus prevents the destruction of the cell walls. It also promotes the regeneration of liver tissue.

Use and side effects of milk thistle

Physicians use milk thistle preparations for the supplementary treatment of chronic inflammatory  liver diseases  . The recovery process is gently supported, especially in the case of damage caused by alcohol and medication. In contrast to chemical medicines, the plant extract does not put additional strain on the organ.

In order for the therapy to be successful, however, the causes of the disease must always be combated. Occasionally, milk thistle preparations have a slightly laxative effect, otherwise no side effects are known.

Treatment with milk thistle

Since silymarin is difficult to dissolve in water, the active ingredient hardly gets into tea infusions. This is why milk thistle extracts are usually packed in  coated tablets , capsules or tablets  . Preparations from the pharmacy ensure a constant and sufficiently high dosage, as they contain a standardized content of active substances. Experts recommend about  200 to 400 milligrams  of silymarin per day.

In  homeopathy  , seaweed thistle is used as “Carduus marianus” for liver and gallbladder diseases,  hemorrhoids  and  varicose veins , but also for rheumatic complaints. The mother tincture and low potencies from D1 to D6 are mainly used.

 

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