Milk thistle (silymarin) is a flowering herb related to the daisy and ragweed family. It is native to Mediterranean countries. Some people also call it Mary thistle and holy thistle.
What Is Milk Thistle Used For?
People have traditionally used milk thistle for problems with the liver and gallbladder . Experts believe silymarin is the primary active ingredient of the herb. Silymarin is an antioxidant compound taken from milk thistle seeds. It’s unclear what benefits, if any, it may have in the body, but it’s sometimes used as a natural treatment for things including cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.
Some claim milk thistle may also:
– Provide heart benefits by lowering cholesterol levels
– Help diabetes in people who have type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis
Is Milk Thistle Good for the Liver?
There’s conflicting research on the benefits of milk thistle for liver health. It may have protective effects on the liver, preventing damage. There’s some evidence that milk thistle can treat cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis, which can be caused by alcohol abuse, autoimmune disease, or viruses. But experts say that the evidence isn’t conclusive.
Some studies also show milk thistle may help people whose liver is damaged by industrial toxins, such as toluene and xylene.There is not enough scientific data to say whether or not milk thistle can help liver problems. Get the facts on milk thistle for the liver.
Can Milk Thistle Help People With Diabetes?
Medical research suggests that milk thistle, combined with traditional treatment, can improve diabetes. Studies have shown a decrease in blood sugar levels and an improvement in cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers also have found that milk thistle improved insulin resistance, a key part of type 2 diabetes.
Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements because they might interfere with your medication. Learn more about natural remedies for type 2 diabetes.
Is Milk Thistle Good for the Heart?
By lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, milk thistle may lower the chance of developing heart disease. But studies on heart benefits have only been done in people with diabetes. People with diabetes often have high cholesterol. It’s unclear if milk thistle has the same effects in people without diabetes.
Milk thistle can also be taken with cholesterol-lowering medications, like statins. It can help prevent elevation of liver enzymes, which can be a side effect of the medication. Find out more on the side effects of statins.