Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has been shown to be a tonic for the liver, which is the body's second largest organ and which plays a critical role in maintaing good health. The liver produces bile, a substance necessary for the breakdown of fats. It detoxifies poisons that may enter our bloodsteam such as nicotene, alcohol, and pollutants such as carbon monoxide, by breaking them down through biochemical pathways from potentially lethal substances to those that are less destructuve to our bodies. Also, the liver is the site where vitamins A, D, E and K are stored.
Milk Thistle contains a flavanoid called Silymarin, which has been shown to have a direct, protective effect on liver cells. Flavanoids are also known as "Vitamin P" and are substances found in plants that also work in conjunction with Vitamin C to offer many other positive health benefits. Research studies have shown that Milk Thistle enhances overall liver function, improves efficiency of biochemical pathways, and stimulates the production of new liver cells. Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is found in the highest concentration in the liver, is also boosted in quantity by Milk Thistle.
Milk Thistle may also be used to assist with liver diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis and Amanita mushroom poisoning.