Milk Thistle

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Enzymatic Therapy Milk Thistle X, 60 UltraCaps, From Enzymatic Therapy

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Nature's Way, Silybin Advanced from Milk Thistle, 120 mg, 60 Vegan Capsules

Reg. Price: $35.24

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Enzymatic Therapy Simply Milk Thistle, 60 Softgels, From Enzymatic Therapy

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Nature's Way, Super Milk Thistle, 120 Vegan Capsules

Reg. Price: $51.74

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Natural Factors, Milk Thistle, 250 mg, 90 Capsules

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Natural Factors Milk Thistle Phytosome, Enhanced Absorption, 90 Capsules, 150 mg, From Natural Factors

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Paradise Herbs, Milk Thistle, 120 Vegetarian Capsules

Reg. Price: $21.56

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Nature's Secret Milk Thistle Liver Cleanse, 60 Tablets, From Nature's Secret

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Milk Thistle, 120 Vcaps, From Nature's Way

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Thisilyn Milk Thistle, 100 Vcaps, From Nature's Way

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Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed, 1 Oz, From Gaia Herbs

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Gaia Herbs, Milk Thistle Seed, 60 Vegan Liquid Phyto-Caps

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Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed Low Alcohol, 1 Oz, From Gaia Herbs

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Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Yellowdock, 1 Oz, From Gaia Herbs

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Now Foods, Silymarin, Milk Thistle Extract, 300 mg, 100 Veg Capsules

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Now Foods, Silymarin, Milk Thistle Extract, 150 mg, 120 Veg Capsules

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Now Foods, Double Strength Silymarin, 300 mg, 200 Veg Capsules

Reg. Price: $29.06

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Silymarin Plus, Milk Thistle, 120 Tablets, From Source Natural

Reg. Price: $25.50

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Super Thisilyn, 60 Vegetarian Capsules,  From Nature’s Way

Reg. Price: $28.99

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Gaia Herbs Milk Thistle Seed, 2 fl oz (60 ml), From Gaia Herbs

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Thisilyn Digestive Cleanse, 90 Vegetarian Capsules, From Nature’s Way

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Milk Thistle Extract Standardized 60 caps from Nature's Way

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Your Price: $10.00


Thisilyn Milk Thistle Extract 60 caps from Nature's Way

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Now Foods, Double Strength Silymarin, 300 mg, 50 Veg Capsules

Reg. Price: $12.60

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Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle Silymarin

Milk thistle, also known as the Marian, St. Mary's, or Our Lady's thistle, is a tall herb with prickly leaves and a milky sap. Milk thistle is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe but naturalized in California and the eastern United States. Botanically, milk thistle is known as Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., a member of the family Asteraceae. In older literature, as well as some modem European works, it is cited as Carduus marianus L.. Over the years, several other plants have been referred to as milk thistles, but authorities now reserve that common name for this species. Also, it must not be confused with the blessed or holy thistle, which is Cnicus benedictus L., an entirely different plant, although the similarity of the religiously inspired common names is confusing.

The liver is essential to healthy digestion and secreting bile, an alkaline fluid which is particularly helpful in the digestion of fats. When the liver is not functioning at its optimal level, bile production declines and fat metabolism slows. Besides the organ-specific extracts provided by Liver Plus, this product introduces the body to choline, inositol, betaine, hydrochloride and lecithin, all agents that play an important part in keeping your fat metabolism in prime condition.

Puerariae (daidzin) Milk Thistle Silymarin has been widely used for centuries to treat alcoholism. Milk Thistle Silymarin may improve liver function and good for liver health. Research shows that Milk Thistle Silymarin may improve low energy and low motivation as well as overall well-being by increasing blood circulation.

Another area of confusion with respect to the milk thistle is the part used; these are small hard fruits known technically as achenes from which a feathery tuft or pappus has been removed. Most of the English language herbal literature incorrectly refers to these fruits as seeds, which they do resemble, but which they are not. To confuse the matter more, some products have appeared in the market in recent years that contain milk thistle leaf. No therapeutic efficacy can be expected from milk thistle leaf-containing products. Virtually all research has been conducted on the fruits, specifically a well-defined extract of the fruits. The fruits of the milk thistle have been used for many years for a variety of conditions, but especially for liver complaints. However, medicinal use of the plant, except perhaps as a simple bitter, was practically discontinued early in the twentieth century. In 1947, the United States Dispensatory devoted one short paragraph to the medication, primarily to its historical aspects.

Then, about thirty years ago, German scientists undertook a chemical investigation of the fruits and succeeded in isolating a crude mixture of antihepatotoxic (liver protectant) principles designated silymarin, which is contained in the fruits in concentrations ranging from 1 to 4 percent. Subsequently, silymarin was shown to consist of a large number of flavonolignans, including principally silybin, accompanied by isosilybin, dehydrosilybin, silydianin, sily-christin, and others.

Studies in small animals have shown that silymarin exerts a liver protective effect against a variety of toxins, including the phallotoxins of the deadly amanita, and is considered the only antidote to amanita poisoning. Human trials have also been encouraging! for conditions including hepatitis and cirrhosis of various origins. The results of numerous studies suggest that silymarin has considerable therapeutic potential, protecting intact liver cells, or cells not yet irreversibly damaged, by acting on the cell membranes to prevent the entry of toxic substances. Protein synthesis is also stimulated, thereby accelerating the regeneration process and the production of liver cells. As a result of this information, German health authorities have endorsed the use of milk thistle as a supportive treatment for inflammatory liver conditions and cirrhosis.

Unfortunately, silymarin is very poorly soluble in water, so milk thistle is not effective in the form of a tea. Studies show that such a beverage contains less than 10 percent of the initial activity in the plant material. This poor solubility, coupled with the fact that silymarin is relatively poorly absorbed (20 to 50 percent) from the gastrointestinal tract, make it obvious that the active principles are best administered parenterally, that is, by injection. Oral use requires a concentrated product. Milk thistle is marketed in this country as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules containing 200 mg of a concentrated extract representing 140 mg of silymarin. Toxic effects resulting from the consumption of milk thistle have apparently not been reported. Twenty-one cases out of 2,169 (1 percent) in an observational study did report transient gastrointestinal side effects. Otherwise, it is considered very well-tolerated and quite effective.

Milk thistle was brought to the United States and has adapted to life in the wild in California and along the East Coast. The sap is white and milky, perhaps explaining at least one of its common names. The white spots along the ribs of the leaves were said to have been drops of the Virgin Mary's milk. The herb was used in times past to help encourage milk production, but this may have been due to the name and the association. The medicinal use of milk thistle goes back two thousand years. Pliny the Elder wrote of it, praising its value for 'carrying off bile.' Medieval herbalists also made use of this property, and in the sixteenth century English herbalists adopted it. It did not maintain its popularity, however, and by the early twentieth century only homeopaths were familiar with it. With a renewal of interest in herbal s, researchers started to investigate milk thistle scientifically in the 1950s. The part of the plant that is used is the small hard fruit with the fuzz (technically called 'pappus') removed.


  • Traditional uses - Milk thistle flower heads, boiled and eaten like artichokes, were useful as a spring tonic after the winter months when people had been deprived of fresh vegetables. They were also taken to increase breast-milk production, and were considered excellent for melancholia (depression), which was traditionally associated with the liver. Gerard stated in his Herball of 1597, 'My opinion is that this (milk thistle) is the best remedy that grows against all melancholy diseases.'
  • Liver disorders - Today, milk thistle is the main remedy used in Western herbal to protect the liver and its many metabolic activities, and help renew its cells. Milk thistle is used in the treatment of hepatitis and jaundice, as well as in conditions where the liver is under stress whether from infection, excess alcohol, or from chemotherapy prescribed to treat diseases such as cancer. In this last instance, milk thistle can help to limit damage done to the liver by chemotherapy and speed up recovery from side effects once the treatment is completed.
  • Other medical uses - Breast cancer, Iron overload, Prostate cancer.

    Native to the Mediterranean, milk thistle grows wild throughout Europe and is widely naturalized in California and Australia. Milk thistle thrives in open areas. Also cultivated as an ornamental plant, milk thistle prefers a sunny position and self-seeds readily. The flower heads are picked in full bloom in early summer. Seeds are collected in late summer.

    Silymarin - German research from the 1970s onward has focused on silymarin, a substance contained in the seeds. This exerts a highly protective effect on the liver, maintaining its function and preventing damage from compounds that are normally highly toxic. It has been shown that severe liver breakdown, resulting from ingesting carbon tetrachloride or death cap mushrooms, may be prevented if silymarin is taken immediately before, or within 48 hours. In Germany, silymarin has been used successfully to treat hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.

    Numerous clinical studies show that Milk Thistle Silymarin supports and promotes liver function in healthy individuals. Milk Thistle Silymarin provides a protective, antioxidant effect on the liver, fortifying it against the undesirable effects of alcohol, smoke and harmful chemicals. These special qualities make Milk Thistle Silymarin especially valuable for people in polluted environments. Dandelion and Turmeric have been traditionally used and scientifically studied for their support of liver health.

    The reputation involving Milk Thistle Silymarin as an herbal medicinal dates back over 2000 years, with Dioscordes using the extract to treat mushroom poisoning and snake bite (first century A.D.). The modern use of Milk Thistle Silymarin, according to Ogletree et al. (1997), began in 1949 when animal studies confirmed that it could protect the liver from the toxic effects of carbon tetrachloride. In 1968, an active ingredient was isolated and named silymarin. Milk thistle has been the subject of over 100 clinical trials, primarily for liver disease. More recently, Milk Thistle Silymarin has emerged as a staple in emergency procedures throughout Europe to treat amanita mushroom poisoning and as a protectant against toxins found in acetaminophen.

    The principal extract of milk thistle, silymarin (4% to 6% in ripe fruit), is composed of several polyphenolic tlavonolignans. The major component (60%) is silybin (also known as silibinin or silybinin), and it is also the most biologically active; other components include silichristin (also known as silychristin, silycristine or silicristin), a metabolic stimulant, and silydianin. Silymarin is found in highest concentrations in the fruit of the plant. Other constituents are flavonoids, a fixed oil (16% to 18%), betaine, trimethylglycine (TMG) and amines.

    Many people with liver disease and impaired liver function take 420 mg of silymarin per day from an herbal extract of milk thistle standardized to 70-80% silymarin content. According to research and clinical experience, improvement should be noted in about eight to twelve weeks. Once that occurs, intake is often reduced to 280 mg of silymarin per day. This lower amount may also be used for preventive purposes. For those who prefer, 12-15 grams of milk thistle seeds can be ground and eaten or made into a tea. This should not be considered therapeutic for conditions of the liver, however.

    Milk thistle extract is virtually devoid of any side effects and may be used by a wide range of people, including pregnant and lactating women. Since silymarin does stimulate liver and gallbladder activity, it may have a mild, transient laxative effect in some individuals. This will usually cease within two to three days.

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