Milk thistle (silymarin marianum) is an herb in the daisy family that has been used for more than 2,000 years in ancient medicine. Though it’s not as common in western medicine, it’s still used around the world.
Milk thistle is commonly referred to as a weed by most here in the U.S., but it’s so much more than that. Unlike many other medicinal herbs, extensive research has been done on milk thistle with more than 300 studies being conducted. Some of them pro and some of them inconclusive.
The vast majority of studies have concluded the same thing. Milk thistle is beneficial for the liver, kidneys, gallblader and the body.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that have unpaired electrons. These are created naturally in your body during metabolism. Free radicals attack funguses, viruses and bacteria. Because electrons must be paired, and free radicals have an extra unpaired electron, the free radical will “steal” an electron from another atom (making another free radical), which will lead to that atom trying to steal an electron from another atom and so on. This chain reaction causes the cell to become unstable and ultimately die.
The real problem lies when free radicals are created by something other than natural metabolism. Breathing smoke, smog, pollution and more will cause the body to spawn free radicals. These atoms cause massive chain reactions that lead to cell mutation and cell death, which in turn can cause a ripe area for disease such as cancer to form.
So it’s apparent protecting cells from having their atoms turn into free radicals and turning free radicals back into stable atoms is a good thing.
Antioxidants stop free radicals from forming. Antioxidants have atoms that contain an extra electron that they’re trying to “dump.” These extra electrons will pair with the unpaired electrons in free radicals, effectively neutralizing them.
The active ingredient in milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant called silymarin, which not only helps protect against free radical damage, but also stimulates the repair of liver tissue.
How is milk thistle commonly consumed?
Milk Thistle flowers, leaves, stalks and roots can be eaten, turned into a tea, cooked into a stew, juiced, dried out and put into capsules. I’m sure there are other ways people use milk thistle. If you do something different, will you please share how in the comments below?
The easiest way for most people to take milk thistle is through a capsule. Because many supplements use fillers that are made from GMO ingredients, it’s best to look for a milk thistle supplement that is certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified. You can try NutriGold Milk Thistle Extract or Genceutic Naturals Milk Thistle.
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