Milk thistle has numerous health benefits that were discovered long ago. Doctors worldwide that participate in alternative medicine have taken notice of it, and because of this patients are finally becoming aware of just what it can do for them. Many studies have proven that the plant can aid in snake bites and cleansing of the liver and lymphatic system. It also has attributes that can increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy for cancer patients and decrease the toxic effects of radiation. It can also help with the following:
- Shrinking varicose veins and wounds in legs
- Soothing liver inflammation from illnesses like hepatitis and repairing liver cells
- Aiding in digestion and increasing appetite
- Healing liver damage caused by poisonous plants and alcoholism
- Soothing inflamed gallbladders
How to Take it
This special thistle plant is also called “Holy Thistle” in some regions because in ancient times people believed its liquid was blessed as the Virgin Mary’s milk. Modern medicine has revealed that besides the plant’s liquid, the seeds are the most medicinal. The benefits milk thistle seeds provide are released when they are ground by mortar and pestle and steeped in hot water to make a tea. A spoonful of peppermint is sometimes added to make the liquid taste better and to increase the properties of the seeds. For those who don’t want to drink tea, capsules are available in most health food stores that can be taken instead.
Possible Side Effects
As with all alternative medicine, it shouldn’t be taken without discussing any possible medicine interactions with your doctor. There are few side effects known, but some people have allergic reactions. Estrogen can be increased and women lactating can have increased milk production. It detoxifies the body and kills off candida infections, so released toxins can lead to a Herxheimer reaction leading to symptoms of headaches, upset stomach and weakness. If the detox symptoms are very bad, sometimes it helps to reduce the amount taken by half.
Before Your Treatments
Before you begin any alternative treatment using this plant there are a few things that are recommended that you should do. First of all, don’t drink any alcohol which could stress your liver further. Next, watch your diet. Avoid sugary foods and junk food which will tax your body further. Plan on having two or three days off of work if possible because the detoxifying effects can make you need rest. Also, drink plenty of water to help flush your system out.