The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. One active substance known as silymarin has strong antioxidant properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth of human prostate, breast, and cervical cancer cells in test tubes. Milk thistle extract has a high amount of silymarin (between 65–80%) that has been concentrated from the milk thistle plant. Silymarin marianum is a plant whose many components, primarily a flavanolignan chemical known as silymarin, have pronounced antioxidant and skin-calming ability. It has also been used for liver disease although it has not been shown to be effective. Acne is a common skin condition that affects many people around the world. In animal studies and one small study in humans, milk thistle produced modest reductions in total cholesterol. As a result, researchers suggest that milk thistle may be a useful therapy for preventing or delaying bone loss in postmenopausal women (24, 25). It usually develops slowly over a number of years and causes weak and fragile bones that break easily, even after minor falls. It’s been suggested that the antioxidant effects of silymarin may have some anticancer effects, which could be helpful for people receiving cancer treatment (9). In fact, in studies where high doses were used for long periods, only about 1% of people experienced side effects (1). Silymarin is the extract of Silybum marianum, or milk thistle, and its major active compound is silybin, which has a remarkable biological effect.It is used in different liver disorders, particularly chronic liver diseases, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic power. The Properties of Milk Thistle Silybum marianum is the more technical name for milk thistle. Silymarin is a flavonoid believed to have antioxidant properties.Milk thistle is sold as an oral capsule, tablet, powder and liquid extract. It may also be used to start late menstrual periods. One reported effect of milk thistle is that it can boost breast milk production in lactating mothers. The active ingredient, or liver-protecting compound in milk thistle is known as silymarin. Silymarin occurs in milk thistle fruit and seeds, and helps shield skin from the visible effects of UV light exposure (of course, you still need a broad spectrum sunscreen). Although more research is needed on how it works, milk thistle is thought to reduce damage to the liver caused by free radicals, which are produced when your liver metabolizes toxic substances. Share on Pinterest Here are 13 remedies for acne that you can try at home. Health Benefits of Milk Thistle. People may also find it painful and worry about its effects on their appearance. However, this review also noted that the quality of the studies was not very high, so more studies are needed before it’s possible to make any firm recommendations (44). While not dangerous, it can cause scars. Lowering cholesterol. Recent research has explored the use of milk thistle. However, there are currently no human studies examining the effects of milk thistle in people with Alzheimer’s or other neurological conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s. Some animal studies have shown that milk thistle could be useful for reducing the side effects of cancer treatments (26, 27, 28). They are seen in very high numbers in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, meaning that milk thistle could potentially be used to help treat this difficult condition (21). Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Secondary effects? It is often referred to as end-stage liver disease. It can benefits adrenal disorders and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Milk thistle for Cancer. Eat these 11 foods to boost your memory and focus, help prevent disease and keep sharp as you…. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. 3 By changing the outside layer of liver cells, it also prevents certain toxins from getting inside. It has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of liver problems. People mainly use the supplement to treat liver conditions. What Is Milk Thistle? This herb benefits adrenal disorders and inflammatory bowel syndrome, and is used to treat psoriasis (increases bile flow). Milk thistle has some estrogen-like effects that may stimulate the flow of breast milk in women who are breast-feeding infants. Milk thistle is a plant named for the white veins on its large prickly leaves.One of the active ingredients in milk thistle is silymarin, which is extracted from the plant's seeds. Milk thistle was approved in 1986 as a treatment for liver disease and it is widely used to treat alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver, cirrhosis, liver poisoning and viral hepatitis. Preliminary laboratory studies also suggest that active substances in milk thistle may have anti-cancer effects. Milk Thistle is unique in its ability to protect the liver and has no equivalent in the pharmaceutical drug world. Milk thistle has been shown in experimental test-tube and animal studies to stimulate bone mineralization and potentially be protective against bone loss (22, 23). Milk thistle has been investigated for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and CNS effects. One animal study found that silymarin (an active compound in milk thistle) worked as effectively as the cholesterol-lowering drug probucol, with the additional benefit of substantially increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol. And although milk thistle extract is commonly used as a complementary therapy for people with liver diseases, there’s currently no evidence that it can prevent you from getting these conditions, especially if you have an unhealthy lifestyle. But the benefits, if any, are small. Our impartial buyers guide lets you know what to look out for to get the best products. Studies have shown improvements in liver function in people with liver diseases who have taken a milk thistle supplement, suggesting it could help reduce liver inflammation and liver damage (9). The fruit and seeds of the milk thistle plant have been used for hundreds of years as a herbal remedy for some liver problems. viral hepatitis) and the extract, silymarin, is used in medicine. Fatty liver disease affects about 25% of people globally. This prickly plant has distinctive purple flowers and white veins, which traditional stories say were caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk falling onto its leaves. 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