While it originates from Mediterranean countries, Asia, India and Siberia, it has spread to the rest of the planet.
Milk thistle usually grows in the following areas:
- Barren land
- Borders of gardens and farms
The plant has a simple stem and can grow to be up to 3.5 meters tall. It has large, pointy leaves that are spotted white.
This wonderful plant, also known as cardus marianus, has been used as a medicinal plant to cleanse the body.
It’s medicinal qualities come from the nutrients that compose it, some examples are the following:
- Unsaturated fatty acids
- Vitamin C
- Minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium)
For the most part, people consume milk thistle in capsules and tablets more than they do in a tea because its active component isn’t soluble. As a result, it looses many of its properties when prepared as a tea.
In the space below, we’ll walk through six benefits that milk thistle offers the body as well as the possible side-effects that it might have.
1. It helps to treat hepatic problems
Thanks to its silymarine content, milk thistle can relieve the symptoms of illnesses such as:
- Fatty liver
- Liver failure
This plant blocks toxic substances from passing through by stabilizing cellular membrane. It also does so by regenerating the damaged cells in the liver’s tissue.
In addition, it also filters out harmful substances in the blood before they reach the liver. By doing so, it prevents damage to the liver.
In the cases of the people undergoing chemotherapy, milk thistle helps soothe the damages the liver suffers after every session.
Also see: 6 Warning Signs of Fatty Liver Disease
2. Fighting acne
Milk thistle’s antioxidant power makes it a great option to treat acne.
The vitamins stored in this plant internally purify the system responsible for hormone production, thus reducing break outs.
It also helps to slow down the aging process and wrinkle development. This plant is very handy for maintaining clear, smooth and soft skin.
The active components of milk thistle help reduce blood sugar levels. In addition, they prevent the complications caused by the disease from worsening and further damaging the body.
Before using milk thistle, you need to consult a medical specialist to know if consuming milk thistle for your diabetes will be helpful or not, and in the case of the former, how much you should take.
Just as it helps in the case of diabetes, milk thistle reduces the blood’s cholesterol levels and improves circulation, thus preventing fatty plaque from obstructing the blood vessels.
On a further note, the plant’s fatty acids help synthesize our body’s good cholesterol (HDL)
We recommend that you read: 5 Healthy Fats that Will Help You Lower Your Cholesterol
5. Natural anti-inflammatory
For tissue pain and inflammation, this plant acts as a natural anti-inflammatory thanks to the minerals that it contains.
As the most popular forms of milk thistle are tablets or capsules, this remedy has few inconveniences and you don’t need to prepare a tea or ointment.
6. Menstrual problems and constipation
These problems can find relief in milk thistle. The plant aids in abdominal circulation, relieving the bloating and pain in the affected zone.
Thanks to its high fiber content, milk thistle acts as a great laxative that allows for smooth intestinal movement. It softens bowels, preventing blockage and solving constipation.
Despite the benefits and properties that milk thistle boasts, it can sometimes be dangerous for the body, especially when your body can’t digest it properly.
It can lead to intestinal alterations because of its nitrate content, which can cause:
- Stomach pain
Another possible side-effect is a rash and allergic reaction in people with sensitive skin.
Also, users might experience loss of appetite, joint pain or headaches.
Considering the aforementioned, it’s important to know if you have milk thistle allergies. In addition, you should consult a doctor about what benefits it can offer you specifically.