illustration of a milk thistle plant

Milk & Thistle Benefit & Uses

What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle is a plant that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for liver health. It’s also known as Blessed Thistle and grows in the Mediterranean region and parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Milk thistle seed extract is made from the seeds of this plant.

Milk thistle contains flavonoids called silymarin or silibinin that have antioxidant properties that protect cells from free radical damage such as oxidative stress (a process where oxygen molecules react with cell membranes).


Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a plant with a long history of use as a liver tonic. It’s been used to treat liver disorders such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and jaundice. The active ingredients in milk thistle are called flavonoids, which are responsible for many of its health benefits.

Milk thistle seed extract contains two flavonoids: silymarin and silibinin (a mixture of silybin A and B). Silymarin is thought to be responsible for most of the medicinal properties of this herb; however, some studies have shown that silibinin may also contribute significantly to its effects on the body.


How is it Used?

The recommended dosage for milk thistle seed extract is between 300 and 600 mg per day, with the best way to take it being as a capsule or tablet or even in the form of a gummy! You should also consider what time of day you’re taking your supplements and whether you’re eating or not–if possible, avoid taking them with meals as this could interfere with digestion. In general, most people can tolerate up to 4 grams per day without any negative side effects; however if you experience any discomfort after taking these high doses (such as nausea), then discontinue use immediately and speak with your doctor about alternative options for treating your condition

Milk thistle seed extract is typically taken in capsule form, but you can also use it in a liquid extract or as a tea.

For best results, take milk thistle seed extract at least thrice daily with meals.


How does it work?

Silymarin is the active ingredient in milk thistle seed extract, and it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. Silymarin is a flavonoid that can be found in many plants such as grapes and berries. It’s believed that silymarin acts as an antioxidant by protecting cells from free radical damage caused by oxidative stress.

In addition to this protective effect against free radicals (which are molecules produced when your body breaks down food), silymarin may also help reduce high cholesterol levels by preventing the absorption of cholesterol into your blood vessels.


Are there safety concerns?

Milk thistle is a safe herb for most people. It can cause some side effects in some people, however.

Milk thistle should be avoided by people who are allergic to it or have a history of asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems because it may worsen these conditions.

Milk thistle shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding without first talking to your healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits of using milk thistle during those times.


Precautions and Side Effects of Milk Thistle

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid milk thistle. The plant contains silymarin, which can pass into breast milk and may affect your baby’s health.

Avoid taking milk thistle if you have a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia or low platelets (blood cells that clot). It can increase the risk of excessive bleeding in these conditions.

Also avoid if you’re taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen sodium (Aleve). These medications work by preventing blood from clotting; when combined with milk thistle extract they could cause excessive bleeding instead of preventing it.


What are the side effects of milk thistle seed extract?

There are no side effects of milk thistle seed extract.

There are also no drug interactions with milk thistle seed extract.

You can take it if you’re allergic to this herb or any other in its family, but there’s no need to worry about an allergy if you’re not allergic already. This is because there are no warnings or precautions regarding its use as far as we know today (and probably ever). It’s safe for everyone!


Final Thoughts

Milk thistle seed extract is a supplement that can be taken to improve liver health. It has many benefits, but it’s important to remember that there are some side effects as well. It’s important to talk with your doctor before taking any supplement so they can help determine if it’s right for you and determine what dosage would work best for your body type.

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