In today’s modern world, environmental pollutions, antibiotics, and hormones are everywhere. The liver, a main site of detoxification is responsible for metabolizing all the chemicals that enter our blood stream while also breaking down old and damaged cells. A liver not functioning optimally can lead to a host of other problems: chronic inflammation, hormonal fluctuations, that foggy brain feeling and suppressed immunity to name a few. The liver is responsible for storing many vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, iron and copper, releasing them when need. Many of these vitamins and minerals are essential for the body’s energy production. The liver is also the only internal organ capable of regeneration which implies its significance within evolution and the it’s integral function within the body.
Silybum marianum, also known as milk thistle is a liver protecting, liver restorative, anti-oxidant, medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years with little contraindications. Its seeds have shown its efficiency in aiding to return the body to homeostasis through supporting the liver in its many functions. Since the liver must filter all the metabolites that enter the blood a gentle metabolic detox could be greatly beneficial after any significate hormonal changes, the use of perception drugs, a weekend out, or can even be used as system boost during spring.
Studies have shown milk thistles ability to assist the body during Dysmenorrhea, PMS, chronic inflammation, jaundice, hepatitis and to aid in the restoration of liver function after chemotherapy and other environmental factors that could have damaged the liver. Krista Dawn Poulton, a Medical Herbalist specializing in female reproductive health, encourages it use for new mothers, helping the body break down the intense hormones of childbirth while also acting as a very mild galactogogue, helping to encourage milk flow. This herb would also be an excellent assist for the body prenatally for anyone wanting to get pregnant or anyone experiencing hormonal challenges. This herb can be very useful in supporting the liver through rehab and detoxification after of drug and alcohol use.
Silybum marianums key constituents are flavonlignans which include silybin and silymarin. These flavonlignans are important antioxidants, and hepaprotective/herpatotrophorestorative (liver protecting/building) constituents. This plant also has many bitters, which aid in the production and secreation of bile and digestion assisting the bodies ability to break down fats and lipid-based hormones.
The standard does for this herb would be 1-4ml of tincture twice per day or 1-3 grams of the ground up herb in capsules each day. Milk thistle seeds have low water-solubility therefore only tinctures and capsules will be an effective way of receiving a medicinal amount.
The known contraindications of this herb are: any allergies to the Asteraceae family, and anyone on Metronidazole.
The energetics of this plant are: sweet, pungent, bitter, warming, stimulating, decongesting, restoring and for use when the tissue states are atrophic and toxic. This plant has an affinity for the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, bladder and uterus.
Healing the state of the liver can help with your bodies resiliency to pollutions, mental and physical well-being and its ability to fight off infection. By assisting the liver with Silybum marianum you could experience more energy, a greater sense of clarity in your mind and a more resilient immune system. Talk to a medical herbalist today to find out if Silybum marianum is a suitable choice for you.
Works Cited(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279393/
Newman, T. (2018, March 2). Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305075.php
TIsza Chemical Works Leninvaros. (1988). PUB MED. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3073356
Asia Mann, E-RYT-200hr, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Birth Doula & Intuitive Healer