The liver purifies and cleans the blood and defends our bodies against dietary and environmental toxins. When toxins begin to accumulate in the body, the liver becomes inflamed, causing us to feel sluggish and lethargic.
The use of milk thistle as a natural liver aid dates back 2000 years thanks to its remarkable ability to protect the liver against toxins. In recent years, the herb has been widely used by the medical community and is routinely prescribed across Europe to treat alcoholic cirrhosis, hepatitis, and drug and alcohol-induced liver damage.
The seeds of the milk thistle plant contain silymarin; a group of three flavonoids called silibinin, silidianin, and silicristin that work together to strengthen the outer membranes of liver cells and reduce the number of toxins entering cells.
This powerful antioxidant also stimulates protein synthesis, which helps to regenerate damaged liver tissues and reduce inflammation.
Milk thistle is one of the most effective herbs at stimulating the production and flow of bile, which helps to break down excess fat and prevents it from accumulating in the liver. Bile is also essential for the elimination of toxins from the body.
Milk thistle has been well studied and analysed, with over 200 clinical studies conducted over the past 30 years. However, some of these studies have been poorly designed and liver regeneration is a slow process, which makes it tricky to test. The evidence for alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease is fairly strong, while for other conditions it is mixed: Alcoholic-related liver disease (ARLD), Non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), Liver cancer, Chemotherapy and prescription medications and Hangovers.
Milk Thistle is a great way to detox your liver, however, you shouldn’t rely on herbal remedies alone. For best results, combine milk thistle with a liver cleansing diet loaded with garlic, green tea, apples, avocados, olive oil, lemons and whole grains. Also, try to reduce your intake of fatty, processed and refined foods that place further demands on the liver.
Finally, drink plenty of water and avoid excessive toxins from coffee and alcohol.