Milk Thistle is also known by the names Our Lady's Thistle, Marian Thistle, and Wild Artichoke. This plant is called Milk Thistle because the leaves of the plant have white veins that look as if milk was spilled upon them - according to legend, the milk of the Virgin Mary. Dioscorides wrote that Milk Thistle seeds could be used to treat snake bites. This plant is native to the Mediterranean and grows wild throughout Europe, North America and Australia. Milk Thistle has been used in Europe as a remedy for liver problems for thousands of years. The seeds were consumed by European wet nurses to insure a healthy milk supply. The heads of this Thistle formerly were eaten, boiled, treated like those of the Artichoke.
Milk Thistle seeds help stimulate protein synthesis in the liver. They even can help reverse the damage done from eating poisonous mushrooms such as Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) or from carbon tetrachloride, which destroy liver cells and usually cause death. When Milk Thistle seeds are used within 48 hours, the survival rate is almost 100%. When fed to animals that had partial hepatectomies, their livers grew back more quickly. Milk Thistle is a good supplement to use to protect the liver when needing to take pharmaceutical drugs. Primary chemical constituents of Milk Thistle include flavolignans (silymarin), tyramine, histamine, gamma linoleic acid, essential oil, mucilage, and bitter principle. Milk Thistle is also an antioxidant that is more potent than vitamins C and E.
Efficacy: It has the functions of protecting liver cell membrane and improving the liver function. Meanwhile, it has the function of detoxification, reducing the blood fat, benefiting the gallbladder, protecting the brain and removing the free radical of body and active constituent. In another side, Silymarin is known to have antioxidant properties and research published in Phytotherapy Research shows that this extract can help people significantly lower the amount of sugar bound to haemoglobin in blood, as well as reducing fasting blood sugar levels.