Also know as St. Mary’s Thistle, this herb comes from the white veins on it’s spiked leaves which we thought to carry the milk of the Virgin Mary.
Belonging to the Daisy family, Milk Thistle is most commonly known for its protective action on the liver although Milk Thistle’s function goes way deeper than that. Classified also as an antioxidant, it also has shown to regenerate the liver cells after liver damage, reduce the production or release of inflammatory mediators, and lower the production of glucose in animal studies (1). Milk thistle also has an effect on the gastrointestinal system and is used for loss of appetite, gallbladder complaints, and dyspepsia (2).
Milk Thistle is very safe to the general public, however there is a theroredical risk with people on Tamoxifen so they should consult a medical herbalist before supplementing with this herb. Due to it’s positive effect on glucose metabolism consultation should also occur with people on insulin medication. Some studies have observed a reduction of serum ferritin levels with long term use of Milk Thistle & so anyone taking it for an extended period of more than 12 weeks should get their levels checked.
Supplementation with Milk Thistle is available through liquid by Irish Botanica and Vogel, or by tablet through Viridian (vegan), Solgar and Vogel.
1. Braun, L. & Cohen, M. (2010) Herbs & Natural Supplements – An evidence-based guide (3rd ed.) Elsevier: Australia
2. http://drclaresacademy.com/mod/glossary/view.phpRead More