The Real Health Benefits Of Taking Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a prickly purple plant, the extract of which was used in ancient medicine. In fact, we still utilize its properties to care for liver, gallbladder, and kidney troubles today. Part of the Asteraceae family, milk thistle or St. Mary's thistle, a Mediterranean flower, is a close cousin of the dandelion and chrysanthemum. Isn't that dandy? Herbal extracts from this blooming beauty are made from her seeds. As a supplement, milk thistle can be taken in liquid, capsules, or tea form.

Natural Healthy Concepts explained that silymarin, "a standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle," is filled with nutrients that prevent inflammation, protect the brain, and stave off free radicals. According to Medical News Today, milk thistle reduces oxidative stress. "In this way, milk thistle may help improve cognition and treat degenerative conditions that affect the mind," the site explained. This includes Alzheimer's disease.

If you find milk thistle to be an intriguing option, here's what else you should know.

Could milk thistle help you?

Milk thistle's nutrients can be used preventatively or reactively for serious ailments. Milk thistle extract shows promise in improving cognition, decreasing insulin resistance, and supporting liver, skin, and bone health (via Medical News Today).

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai revealed that milk thistle is used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning and serves as a rare treatment for Hepatitis C. Additionally, Healthline explained that when taken over time, only roughly 1% of people experienced side effects, so it can be considered safe. However, as the National Cancer Institute explained, "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of milk thistle as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition."

Additionally, milk thistle may not be safe for pregnant mothers and those with allergies to sunflowers, daisies, or sunflowers (via Healthline). If you believe milk thistle could help you, please consult a health professional.