– Native to the Mediterranean region, milk thistle is a common flowering herb whose extract, called silymarin, comes from the fruit of the plant and is included in supplements in a variety of forms. This active ingredient may feature both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, although its effects on the body remain under research.
Although folklore may have associated milk thistle as an herbal remedy for a variety of conditions ranging from cirrhosis and hepatitis to gallbladder disorders and high cholesterol, no evidence exists that indicates milk thistle is effective at combatting these conditions. Most research today focuses on the plant’s ability to promote healthy liver function. Over the years, lab studies have revealed that milk thistle may protect liver cells from toxins and possibly encourage the growth of new cells, which indicates that it may help improve overall liver function, especially for individuals with alcohol-related liver disease. However, contradictory studies have shown little to no evidence indicating this herbal supplement may help promote liver health. Thus, research on milk thistle’s role in traditional medicine remains inconclusive - but still under evaluation - at this time. READ MORE ABOUT MILK THISTLE »
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