For more than 2,000 years, a spiky purple plant known as the “liver herb,” has been used in traditional medicine for healing a wide range of conditions from mushroom poisoning to indigestion. Modern researchers have now added the prevention of photo-aging and skin cancer to the long list of milk thistle’s benefits. Continue reading
Milk thistle is a flowering plant that is part of the daisy family. It gets its name from its bristly and prickly nature and the “milky” sap that oozes out of the plant. The leaves, fruits and seeds of milk thistle have been used for centuries as a natural medicine. Milk thistle is one of the world’s most powerful liver detoxifying agents.
Milk thistle was used by medical herbalists in the late 19th century to treat varicose veins and liver, spleen and kidney disorders. Today, it is primarily used to Continue reading
Milk thistle, or silymarin, has been used as a natural herb to assist liver function for thousands of years. Well established as a liver herb in both alternative and scientific literature, milk thistle strengthens liver cell membranes, decreases “bad” cholesterol levels, boosts the immune system, and is a powerful antioxidant. Milk thistle has also been demonstrated clinically to have a positive effect on certain cancers. Continue reading
In a 2002 Jon Rapoport interview of a retired vaccine industry researcher turned whistleblower, the whistleblower, whose identity is protected, dismisses the false premise of vaccinations creating immunity by stimulating antibodies.
Here is part of what he told Jon, … “the immune system is much larger and more involved than antibodies and their related killer cells.” Jon responded with, “The immune system is?”
The scientist/whistleblower responded with, Continue reading
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is probably the most common digestive disorder seen by doctors. Basically, this condition results when the normal contractions of your digestive tract become irregular and uncoordinated. Material starts to accumulate in the digestive tract and causes stomach problems, bloating, pain, and constipation.
Not surprisingly, many people learn to fear eating, which seems to trigger all the painful digestive symptoms that go along with IBS. Malnutrition can then become a real problem. Continue reading
A personal detox program can be simple, yet impressively effective. The healthy benefits include less anxiety, reduced stress, diminished inflammation and more personal energy. And the best part about it is that you can start cleansing your body of toxins today.
A healthy detoxification program should always begin gradually. With so many methods available, it can be difficult to find a simple starting point. As an integrative medical doctor and detoxification expert, I’d like to share some of my top recommended steps for safe and effective detoxification that can provide lasting energy, vitality and overall wellness. Continue reading
The liver is one of the most critical organs essential to human health. It serves more than 300 functions in the body to detoxify against chemical and environmental intrusions, and it promotes metabolic function as well. Silymarin is commonly known as milk thistle, and new science is emerging to validate the healing potential of this powerful plant. Publishing in the journal Hepatitis Monthly, researchers provide solid evidence that natural milk thistle extracts can halt and even reverse the effects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an affliction affecting as much as a third of the adult population. Supplementation with milk thistle will dramatically lower the risks associated with fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis and cognitive dysfunction.
NAFLD is a significant health concern that is growing at an unprecedented rate due to the obesity and diabetes epidemic currently gripping most western societies. The condition is caused in part by excess accumulation of fats (triglycerides) in the cellular matrix of the liver that results in suboptimal function of the organ. Left unchecked, the disease can result in cell injury and damage, in inflammation and ultimately in cirrhosis as the liver becomes less able to perform the multitude of tasks essential to life. Continue reading
If you’ve got a bacterial infection, taking a course of antibiotics should help restore you to health. But these powerful drugs (which include penicillin, amoxicillin, and tetracycline, to name a few) can cause some unpleasant side effects, such as yeast overgrowth and gastrointestinal trouble.
The first step in protecting yourself from these adverse effects is to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. Since antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections (like strep throat, urinary tract infections, and severe sinus infections), they won’t be effective against viral infections that cause the common cold, flu, or bronchitis. In addition to the risk of unnecessary side effects, inappropriate use of antibiotics can promote the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and leave you vulnerable to incurable infections later on.
If you find yourself in need of antibiotics, however, you might want to consider ways to reduce your risk of side effects.
Complementary Care for Antibiotics Users
Here are three ways to support your system while you’re on antibiotics.
1) Probiotic Supplements
Antibiotics don’t just kill the bacteria causing your sickness; they also wipe out beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) that contribute to a healthy digestive system. Taking a probiotic supplement could help prevent gastrointestinal problems resulting from antibiotic use, according to a research review published in 2008. Probiotics, also found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, can help stave off yeast infections as well.
2) Herbal Tea
If you experience nausea while taking antibiotics, try sipping ginger tea to soothe your stomach. Another common complaint among patients on antibiotics? Loose stools, which may be relieved by drinking raspberry leaf tea.
3) Milk Thistle
Taking antibiotics can tax your liver, which is responsible for breaking down the medications you ingest. The herb milk thistle has been associated with protective antioxidant effects on the liver.
Prevent Bacterial Infection
To reduce your risk of bacterial infections and lower your chances of having to use antibiotics, strengthen your immune system by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and managing your stress with the help of relaxation techniques.
Milk thistle is a flowering herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for a variety of ailments, especially liver problems.
Common Names—milk thistle,
Latin Name—Silybum marianum
What It Is Used For
Milk thistle is believed to have protective effects on the liver and improve its function. It is typically used to treat liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation), and gallbladder disorders. Treatment claims also include:
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Reducing insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis
- Reducing the growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers
How It Is Used
Silymarin, which can be extracted from the seeds (fruit) of the milk thistle plant, is believed to be the biologically active part of the herb. The seeds are used to prepare capsules, extracts, and infusions (strong teas).
What the Science Says
There have been some studies of milk thistle on liver disease in humans, but these have been small. Some promising data have been reported, but study results at this time are mixed.
- Although some studies conducted outside the United States support claims of oral milk thistle to improve liver function, there have been flaws in study design and reporting. To date, there is no conclusive evidence to prove its claimed uses.
- Recent NCCAM-funded research includes a phase II study to better understand the use of milk thistle for chronic hepatitis C. Additional research, cofunded by NCCAM and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, includes studies of milk thistle for chronic hepatitis C and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (liver disease that occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol).
- The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Nursing Research are also studying milk thistle, for cancer prevention and to treat complications in HIV patients.
Side Effects and Cautions
- In clinical trials, milk thistle generally has few side effects. Occasionally, people report a laxative effect, upset stomach, diarrhea, and bloating.
- Milk thistle can produce allergic reactions, which tend to be more common among people who are allergic to plants in the same family (for example, ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, and daisy).
- Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.