Milk Thistle – Not Just an Itchy Weed

Milk thistle has been well known in folklore as a remedy for gall bladder and liver
problems. This plant is native to Europe. The Silymarin is a flavonoid found in the seeds
and is the active constituent in this plant.

Research has found that this plant provides protection from liver damage due to alcohol,
Tylenol and other drug use. It also has been found to improve liver function in patients
suffering from cirrhosis of the liver.

There is promising research that is tentatively exploring the solitarian in this plant in
connection with cancer prevention and high cholesterol. Studies have shown that there
was a significant reduction in liver disease related deaths when patients were given this
supplement and it was determined that it may help stop inflammation resulting from
hepatitis C.

There are further ongoing studies being conducted at this time to determine how the
supplement might be successful in treating all patients with hepatitis. The supplement
does not appear to remove the disease from the body, however, it does help fight the
inflammation.

Besides folklore, there is science behind this plant and diabetes treatment. Additionally,
this supplement may provide a defense against diabetes and diabetes-related
complications, which include kidney damage and blood vessel damage. It is rich in
antioxidants which may assist in the treatment of diabetes.

There was another study that also concluded the supplement may aid in treating
diabetes-related kidney damage. This occurred in an animal study which indicated that
the supplement slowed the progression of diabetic nephropathy in rats.

There is research which included people with type 2 diabetes who for four months
participated by including a supplement containing silymarin along with their conventional
drug routine. This group showed a marked decrease in total cholesterol and LDL. Their
blood sugar levels also appeared to be better regulated when using the milk thistle
extract.

Research seemed to show that it could also help manage diabetes by treating insulin
resistance.

There is yet another useful application of milk thistle may be an aid in skin-cancer
prevention. Applied to the skin in combination with sun- screen it was shown to produce
antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune system regulating properties. Additionally, the
herb showed an ability to inhibit several tumor-promoters involved in skin cancer
growth.

Should you use milk thistle for diabetes treatment? That is a good question with various
opinions and answers out there, but The National Institutes of Health classifies milk thistle
as a “possibly effective” treatment for diabetes. However, since there are various side
effects to the supplement which might have serious health consequences you should
use caution when starting any supplement regimen.

This supplement is not recommended for pregnant women nor should women with
cancer of the breast, uterus or ovaries use it. This supplement may also interfere with
oral birth control medications.

There are also various side effects, including headache, indigestion and itching.

As the research continues, this supplement may prove to be much more useful than ever
imagined.

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