Herbalists often recommend taking milk thistle, especially if your liver is weak. This popular natural remedy is also taken to support this vital organ during a detox.
Milk thistle has been used for thousands of years. In modern times, milk thistle has been extensively studied for its ability to heal the liver. In Europe, this herb is prescribed by mainstream medical doctors for this purpose.
Fortunately, herbal milk thistle is widely available. But I personally believe it’s important to find a good brand made from the whole herb, instead of just an isolated extract. Please understand this is my personal opinion. But it’s one that’s shared by a lot of professional herbalists.
There is a controversial trend of using just single active ingredients, extracted from herbs, and selling them as dietary supplements. However, for myself, I only take whole herbs.
That’s because many herbalists recommend full-spectrum plants. The concern is that some benefits may be missing if various components found in nature are removed.
Benefits of Milk Thistle Supplements
Like many other herbal remedies, milk thistle is thought to contain powerful natural anti-inflammatory compounds. There’s also evidence that this herb contains chemicals that protect against cancer.
One of the best and most easily readable sources on milk thistle that I could find is published on the University of Maryland Medical Center website. The UMMC is a good source for alternative medical information, which it presents in an open-minded manner. Here is some of the info that the UMMC provided:
- Milk thistle has been used medically for more than 2,000 years.
- One of the most studied compounds in milk thistle is silymarin. Studies have shown it can protect the liver from toxins. Silymarin may even help with liver regeneration.
- Silymarin has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, at least when observed in the lab.
- This substance also appears to be a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Where To Buy Milk Thistle Supplements
Please understand that I’m not a doctor. I cannot give medical advice, or promise that any product or remedy will lead to health improvements. But I can share with you my experience in taking herbs for a nerve disease caused by chronic inflammation.
Milk thistle and silymarin extract are widely available. However, if you want only the whole, full-spectrum herb, you’ll have to shop carefully. That’s because some products that are labeled as “milk thistle” contain just one active ingredient – silymarin.
For me, it’s a personal preference to take herbal remedies, which have been used for ages, in their most natural state. Also, I don’t want to miss out on any potential benefits from all of the other compounds, contained in a particular plant, which may not have been studied yet. So I generally take only whole food vitamins and full-spectrum supplements. The Eclectic Institute milk thistle you see contains organic freeze dried milk thistle seed.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use herbal remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional. People taking certain types of medication should check with their doctor before taking milk thistle.