Milk Thistle is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is easily recognized by the flower it produces which varies from red to purple. Originally milk thistle was a native of Southern Europe and Asia but can now be found throughout the world. It is often prescribed as a natural supplement in medical treatments that use integrated therapy. Medicinally, milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years and is quite common in the United States and Europe. Because of the medicinal benefits, the flowers and leaves of the milk thistle are often eaten in salads. The seeds of the plant can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
What Conditions is Milk Thistle Used to Treat?
Most often milk thistle can be found in a center for holistic medicine. It is known to treat a variety of ailments including:
•Repairing the Liver
Milk Thistle is most well known for protecting the liver. It actually has no equal in the pharmaceutical world. Milk Thistle also helps to detoxify the body from synthetic chemicals. Often milk thistle is employed by an alternative medical center to treat and detoxify the liver. It helps to protect the liver from the damages of alcohol and has been shown to help regrow liver cells. In fact, it has been popularly used to treat many conditions including alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis, and viral hepatitis. In cases of Amanita mushroom poisoning which destroy the liver, milk thistle is the only treatment option.
What are the Side Effects of Milk Thistle?
Milk Thistle can cause a severe reaction in anyone allergic to the herb or anyone who is allergic to the plant family. This may include a rash, Anaphylactic shock, heart attack or blood clots. Less severe allergic reactions may occur. These reactions include skin rashes, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, gas, headache or heartburn. It may also lower blood sugar so people that suffer from diabetes will need to be monitored. While milk thistle has been historically used to increase the flow of breast milk, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to be cautious is using this supplement. Always consult your doctor before using an herbal supplement.