Milk thistle is a very valuable plant that is actively used to improve metabolism, for the treatment of liver diseases, as well as for various poisonings. To get the most out of it, you need to know how to properly use milk thistle for health purposes.
- What is milk thistle?
- Medicinal properties of milk thistle
- The benefits of milk thistle
- What happens to the liver when the body is poisoned?
- Taking milk thistle during poisoning
- The use of milk thistle in the form of medicines
- Harm and contraindications of milk thistle
What is milk thistle?
Milk thistle is not a picky plant. It grows almost everywhere. The shrub can be found in yards, on wastelands, in fields, on roadsides, on the border of the steppes with a forest belt. The second name for milk thistle is tartar. The plant belongs to the thistle family, has thorny stems that can reach a height of 2 meters.
People have learned to use the medicinal properties of milk thistle for a long time. The benefits of the plant for human health are mentioned in the ancient Greek treatises of the doctors Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides.
In ancient Greece, milk thistle was actively used to treat people who suffered from the bites of poisonous animals (snakes, spiders and other insects). In ancient Rome, with the help of this plant, hepatic diseases, gallbladder diseases and even melancholy were treated.
When the widespread struggle with witches and witch doctors began in the world, much of the knowledge about the beneficial qualities of milk thistle was lost. However, even this did not prevent medieval healers from using plant seeds in their practice. So, in Europe in the Middle Ages, they were the main medicine for the treatment of hepatitis.
Milk thistle is not ignored by modern medicine. It is actively used to treat liver and gallbladder diseases. Not only seeds, but also the roots and leaves of the plant have therapeutic properties. They are used to renew the cells lining the bile ducts, to improve the outflow of bile, to increase the filtering ability of the liver, in the complex treatment of hepatitis.
Medicinal properties of milk thistle
The complex biochemical composition of milk thistle determines the healing effect of the plant. For the first time, scientists from the Institute of Pharmacy, located in Munich, undertook a study of the components that make up milk thistle seeds. It was possible to scientifically confirm that milk thistle seeds are a real storehouse of vitamins, minerals and beneficial acids. There are more than 200 of them in the composition of seeds.
At the same time, the most important discovery was made: a substance such as silymarin is present in the milk thistle seed. It is very useful for the restoration and normal functioning of hepatocytes (human liver cells).
Silymarin combines in itself a whole group of useful substances called flavonolignans, among which:
Silymarins have the following beneficial effects on the human body:
- Silybin promotes the production of enzymes that have a damaging effect on free radicals (antioxidant effect).
- Silymarins act as an antidote in case of body poisoning with alcohol, poisons, antibiotics, pale toadstool (protective effect).
- Silymarins help to reduce inflammatory processes in the body, help it eliminate toxins faster (anti-inflammatory effect).
- By stimulating the processes of regeneration of liver cells, the severity of allergic reactions (antiallergic effect) decreases.
Silymarins help to strengthen, restore and regenerate damaged liver cells and bile ducts (regenerative effect).
Milk thistle fruit contains about 3% silymarin. It is present in the stems, roots and leaves of the plant, however, its concentration is much lower there.
Silymarin is not the only beneficial substance found in the seeds and other parts of milk thistle.
In addition to it, the plant contains components such as:
- B vitamins, ascorbic acid, vitamins E, D, K.
- Macro and microelements.
- Fatty acid.
The benefits of milk thistle
With the help of milk thistle, you can not only treat, but also prevent various diseases, including:
Diseases of the hepatobiliary system: hepatitis, biliary dyskinesia, liver cirrhosis, cholelithiasis.
- Diseases of the digestive system. Treatment of diseases of the stomach and intestines becomes possible due to the renewal of liver cells. As a result, taking milk thistle has a positive effect on the course of gastritis, colitis, pancreatitis, hemorrhoids, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.
- Allergic diseases. It is possible to reduce the severity of allergic manifestations by cleansing the liver of toxins.
- Dermatological diseases. Very often, skin pathologies are caused by abnormalities in the liver. If she does not cope with her functions, then this will certainly affect the condition of the skin. It is through them that the body will try to get rid of toxins, as a result of which problems such as: acne, acne and allergic rashes appear.
- Treatment of food, alcohol and drug poisoning.
Treatment of intoxication with heavy metals (industrial poisoning).
- Treatment of drug poisoning.
- Treatment of poisoning caused by poisonous animals and plants. Milk thistle can be used for bites of spiders, snakes, arthropods, if mushroom venom enters the body.
What happens to the liver when the body is poisoned?
The liver is an organ that is responsible for cleansing the body of toxins, takes part in the process of digestion and metabolism. All these three functions are life-determining for a person. The entire liver is permeated with a vascular network, through which 1.5 liters of blood passes and filters in just 60 seconds. Such a hard work of the liver is necessary to ensure the normal functioning of the whole organism as a whole. If the liver refuses to work, the person dies in a few days.
When liver cells are not functioning at full capacity, toxins and other harmful substances enter the bloodstream and are carried throughout the body with its current. As a result, cardiovascular pathologies (atherosclerosis) develop, the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, bones and joints (arthrosis and arthritis) suffer.
Taking milk thistle during poisoning
The modern world is not only about electricity and a comfortable life. People pay for everyday amenities with chronic poisoning. Every day a person living in a large city gets poisoned from industrial emissions, from automobile exhaust. Rural residents suffer no less, who with the same regularity are faced with harmful herbicides.
Moreover, the overwhelming majority of the adult population periodically poison themselves with ethanol. This also includes the regular use of antibiotics. Starting from childhood, a person's body receives poisoning in the form of vaccinations.
In this regard, all inhabitants of the modern world need to take milk thistle. This is especially true for such categories of citizens as:
- People working in hazardous industries.
- People living in industrial areas.
- People employed in agriculture.
- People who abuse alcohol (it will be useful to take milk thistle after every major feast or holiday).
- Overweight people with metabolic disorders. Milk thistle is an excellent weight loss product of natural origin.
The liver is the organ that has the ability to regenerate. Even with the removal of 70% of the organ tissue, the liver is able to function and grow in just a few weeks to the size the body needs. The speed of recovery directly depends on whether there are "building materials" for this purpose in the body. It is milk thistle that is able to provide the components necessary for the liver, which will allow it to regenerate faster.
The use of milk thistle in the form of medicines
Due to the fact that milk thistle is widespread throughout the world, a person has the opportunity to obtain high-quality and inexpensive raw materials from it.
Milk thistle comes in the following dosage forms:
- Meal (powder).
- Oil in capsules or bottles.
- Milk thistle extract.
Using milk thistle powder
To obtain a powder, the seeds are dried and ground. Only mature seed is suitable for the manufacture of a medicinal product. You can prepare such a powder yourself at home, or you can purchase a ready-made meal at a pharmacy.
Milk thistle powder is used not only to treat diseases of the liver and digestive organs, but also to reduce body weight, to lower blood sugar levels, to reduce the severity of varicose veins.
The benefits of milk thistle powder are recognized not only by folk, but also by official medicine. The dosage for an adult is a teaspoon 3 times a day. It is necessary to take the powder before eating. Children under 12 years old are prescribed 1 / 2-1 / 3 teaspoon of powder.
Since milk thistle powder does not have a bitter taste, children do not refuse to take it. The powder should be washed down with water. If the child has not reached the age of 2-3 years, then you can mix milk thistle with any drink or add to porridge.
The use of milk thistle oil for medicinal and cosmetic purposes
To obtain milk thistle oil, mature plant seeds are required. It is used to speed up the healing process of various wounds and burns. Cold-pressed oil is considered the most effective, since the raw materials are not heated to obtain it, which does not provoke oxidation processes. Therefore, such oil will contain the maximum of nutrients available in the plant.
The oil is produced in capsules and bottles. It contains B vitamins, vitamin D, A, E, K, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, chlorophyll, silymarin, magnesium, selenium, zinc and manganese. It is thanks to this composition that the maximum medicinal and cosmetic effect can be achieved.
Milk thistle oil benefits:
- The oil is actively used in the treatment of gynecological diseases. For vaginitis and erosion, it is applied to a tampon and injected.
- Milk thistle oil is used in the complex therapy of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
- It is useful to take the oil orally with sclerosis, as it helps to increase the elasticity of blood vessels.
- The oil is used in the treatment of psoriasis and acne.
When applied externally, milk thistle oil prevents the aging process of the skin, increases its elasticity, reduces spider veins and cellulite.
The oil is consumed 30 minutes before meals, a teaspoon 2 times a day. Thus, it is possible to achieve its maximum absorption by the body. Treatment should continue for 3-4 weeks, after which it is necessary to take a break for 7-14 days, and then the course can be repeated.
Milk thistle oil can be used as a preventive remedy for many diseases. To do this, it is added to soups, cereals, salads and other dishes are seasoned with it. It is important to add oil to food that has already been cooked to avoid heating it up.
It is convenient to use milk thistle oil in capsules. Such a dietary supplement can always be at hand. One capsule contains 300 mg of oil. The capsule shell is composed of gelatin. The dose for an adult is 3-4 capsules, you need to take this volume 2-3 times a day. The course of treatment lasts 1-2 months.
Milk thistle oil can only be harmful if you are intolerant to the silymarin it contains.
Milk thistle extract for tincture preparation
Milk thistle extract is a selection of beneficial components from the plant. Alcohol or water can be taken as a basis. To prepare an alcoholic tincture, you will need 0.5 liters of vodka and 50 g of powder. You need to take the resulting tincture half an hour before meals, 20 drops.
Milk thistle capsules and tablets
Milk thistle extract can be supplied in tablets and capsules.
These are drugs such as:
- Carsil Forte (80 tablets per pack). The drug is produced in Bulgaria. One capsule contains 90 mg of silybin, one tablet contains 35 mg of silybin.
Hepabene (30 capsules per pack). Each capsule contains 50 g of silybin and a choleretic component.
- Silimar (30 tablets). The drug is produced by a Russian manufacturer, each tablet contains 70 mg of silybin.
- Legalon (60 capsules). Each capsule contains 140 mg of silybin, which corresponds to a single dose for an adult.
An adult needs 400-420 mg of silybin per day. This dose must be divided into 3 doses.
Harm and contraindications of milk thistle
The instructions for use list those diseases for which you can take milk thistle. Since the substances that make up the seeds will have a choleretic effect, a person may experience a feeling of heaviness in the right hypochondrium, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
If discomfort occurs, the dose of the drug should be reduced. If the pain is sharp, or the general health of a person worsens, you should stop taking milk thistle. Most often, this indicates that the recommended dosage was not followed during treatment.
If the patient has severe pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, then take medications with milk thistle in small doses. The initial dosage should be a few grams (drops). The drug is taken once in the morning, 30 minutes before meals. If no pathological reactions occur, then after 3 days the dose can be increased. Gradually, it is brought to 1/3 spoon 2-3 times a day.
Care should be taken when offering milk thistle to people with mental health problems and those with shortness of breath, as the risk of a choking attack increases.
Contraindications for taking milk thistle are:
- Pathology of the biliary tract in the acute stage. Since milk thistle-based preparations contribute to the occurrence of a choleretic effect, this can lead to excessive stress on the biliary tract. As a result, the patient may develop internal bleeding.
- Carrying a baby and breastfeeding. Taking milk thistle can provoke the onset of premature labor or miscarriage. You should not take the preparations of this plant during lactation, as the toxins excreted from the body will penetrate into breast milk, and then into the baby's body.
Milk thistle is a valuable plant that allows you to get rid of many diseases, products based on it are widely used not only for medicinal, but also for cosmetic purposes. However, before starting to take medications with milk thistle, it is advisable to consult a specialist.
The author of the article: Sokolova Nina Vladimirovna | Phytotherapist
Education: Diploma in "General Medicine" and "Therapy" received at the Pirogov University (2005 and 2006). Advanced training at the Department of Phytotherapy at the Peoples' Friendship University of Moscow (2008).
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