Milk thistle, also known as silybum marianum, is a herb that can be identified by its purple flowers. Milk thistle provides many benefits and can be harvested by cutting off the flower heads soon after their white tufts begin to develop. Almost all parts of this plant can be eaten including the leaves, roots, even its shoots while young. Milk thistle may also be dried and used in herbal teas. The prominent active ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, which acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Silymarin serves as an effective natural remedy for the liver, helping alleviate problems such as cirrhosis, jaundice and gallbladder disorders.
Milk Thistle Substitute
There are certain treatments that work well in collaboration with milk thistle, and some that can be substituted by it. The rich silymarin ingredient found in milk thistle is often used in different medicines due to its beneficial properties. For example, the Myers Cocktail can be substituted with milk thistle to avoid the unpleasant Myers Cocktail side effects.
The Myers Cocktail is essentially a high dosage of vitamins injected into the vein. It is known to be effective against conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, asthma attacks and even hangovers. Some doctors argue that the same results can be attained by taking a daily multivitamin, rather that injecting a dosage of vitamins in one sitting. Milk thistle can be used in conjunction with a daily vitamin and has little to no side effects. It may cause minimal stomach issues on rare occasions like diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
Milk Thistle in Treatment
There are two notable treatments that sometimes involve milk thistle; Chelating Therapy and IPT Therapy. Chelating is used to detoxify the body when it is exposed to metal poisoning. When a patient contracts iron poisoning, the silybin found in milk thistle can be used as an iron chelator. It reduces iron absorption within the body, allowing it to pass through. IPT (Insulin Potentiation Therapy) is a cancer treatment used along with chemotherapy. With IPT, patients can avoid the side effects associated with chemotherapy including hair loss, anemia, and nausea. It also increases the effectiveness of cancer-killing agents. Incorporating milk thistle along withIPT helps to protect certain cells against damage and encourages regrowth.