What is Thistle Used For?
Milk thistle (Carduus marianus), don’t get it confused with blessed thistle, is extraordinarily useful in the treatment of liver diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver poisoning, and viral hepatitis.
Milk thistle is one of the few herbs that have no real pharmaceutical equivalent. It reduces inflammation and is an antioxidant. Traditionally used for functional disorders of the liver and gallbladder such as jaundice, it was also used to treat malaria.
Today it is used for dyspepsia, toxic liver, and hepatic cirrhosis. The German Commission E has approved Carduus marianus for dyspeptic, liver, and gallbladder complaints.
According to the German Commission E, Carduus marianus works in two ways: It alters the structure of the outer cell membrane of the liver cells to prevent toxins such as from food poisoning from getting inside the liver cells. Secondly, it stimulates the action of nucleolar polymerase A, which stimulates the regeneration of new, healthy liver cells.
Milk Thistle History
Carduus marianus has a long history of use in Greco-Arab and Islamic medicine as well as in the European folk medicine as a liver tonic. Milk Thistle is praised as one of the oldest known herbal medicines. Dioscorides first described the plant. In Roman times, Pliny the Elder (77 AD), a noted naturalist, described the medicinal uses of this plant, indicating it was “excellent for carrying off bile.”
Ancient herbalist wrote of its effectiveness in removing obstructions of the liver and spleen. However, it has been relatively recent clinical research, especially in Germany, which has brought the use of Carduus marianus to prominence in the treatment of chronic or acute liver disease, as well as protecting the liver against toxicity.
Milk Thistle at a concentration of 100 mg/kg was shown to enhance liver regeneration in hepatectomized rats, as shown by increased weight for treated rats as compared with controls. Proliferative activity as measured by the stathmokinetic test (counting numbers of mitotic cells in prepared slides of liver tissue from hepatectomized rats) was increased in treated animals as compared with controls.
The rate of DNA synthesis in rats treated with Carduus marianus following partial hepatectomy was increased from 23% to 35% compared with controls. No change in DNA synthesis was seen in normal livers.
Applications and uses:
Milk Thistle is originally used in correcting liver conditions. Carduus marianus is a beautiful herb in dealing with hepatitis or the recovery. Milk thistle has great regenerating potential relative to the liver.
It is helpful in regenerating and stimulating the production of new liver cells because of damage either from environmental causes, alcoholism, or chemical exposure. Carduus marianus also helps to purify the liver.
In many cases, but not all, where food allergies and also environmental allergies are present, this herb would be indicated because in many cases the symptoms in allergies are due to the damage or reduced function of the liver.
Milk Thistle Studies | Alcoholic Liver Disease Treated With Milk Thistle
The metabolism of ethanol is primarily through conversion into acetaldehyde by three enzyme systems. These include catalase (CAT), alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs), and the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system (MEOS). Acetaldehyde is more hepatotoxic in its effects than ethanol.
Acetaldehyde produces multiple effects in the body. Binding with proteins, glycoproteins, and membrane phospholipids results in cellular dysfunction such as swelling, impairment of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, and upregulation of protein kinase. Maintenance of cell structure is impaired due to altered formation and function of microtubules.
Acetaldehyde also increases the production of cytokines IL-1a, IL-6, and TNF-a and promotes inflammatory responses via activation of necrosis factor kappa beta (NF-kB). Furthermore, TNF-a promotes free radical production by mitochondria, activated neutrophils, and hepatic Kupffer cells.
Numerous in vitro studies of Kupffer cells and other types of immune cells investigated the effect of Milk Thistle or its derivatives on the formation of the nitric oxide, TNF-a, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and leukotriene B4 (LTB4) found beneficial effects of Milk Thistle and its active compounds.
For instance, controlled in vitro studies have demonstrated that silymarin inhibits NF-kB activation in a variety of cell lines. TNF-mediated NF-kB activation was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. Also, Milk Thistle appeared to block the activation of NF-kB by phorbol ester, LPS, okadaic acid, and ceramide, partially inhibited NF-kB induction by H2O2 and was found to inhibit NF-kB activation in all cell types studied.
Protects pancreas against alcohol damage
Possibly protecting against UVB rays
Synergistically working with Vitamin E as a liver free radical scavenger
May improve insulin resistance
May support skin health
Ingredients: Wild harvested Milk Thistle Seed
Parts Used: Seed
Forms: Two ounces of powder or 60 vegetable capsules (550-600 mg).
How to use:
Powder: Take one tsp of dried powder in 8 oz. of favorite juice or smoothie, two times a day.
Capsules: Take 2-4 capsules twice a day with water or a favorite beverage.
The gel caps we use are Vegicaps (vegetable) and are all natural. No Animal By-Products, Starch Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Preservative Free, Ethylene Oxide and Sulfite FREE!
Legal Information: The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.