Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

No known contraindications or drug interactions

I just read the February issue of Andrew Weil, MD SELF HEALING (which my husband subscribes to). In it Weill offers some interesting and useful information on Milk Thistle.

"There isn't a drug on the market than can protect the liver the way one humble herb can. The seeds of the milk thistle (Silybum marianum), a spiny plant that grows wild in Europe and parts of the United States, contains compounds that can reduce liver inflammation and protect the organ from toxic substances.

By stimulating protein production, the herb can also help regenerate liver cells. Plenty of pharmaceuticals can harm the liver, but only an herb-milk thistle-can help heal it.

How it works: Milk thistle's active ingredients-four compounds collectively called silymarin-are found in its seeds and can act in the body in several ways. They can act as antioxidants, which quench free radicals that can damage any cell. They fill specific receptor sites on liver cells to lock environmental toxins out. And-uniquely-silymarin promotes the regeneration of damaged liver cells."

Ann's NOTE: Afer I read this and Dr. Weil' statement that "Milk thistle will also provide liver protection to cancer patients on chemotherapy (it won't interfere with the treatment)", I went out and bought this herb and added it to my own supplements. He mentioned that it helps people who are exposed to volatile organic solvents on the job. I am chemically sensitive (MCS) and I thought perhaps it could be doubly useful to me. I did not have chemotherapy but any cancer patient wants to protect their liver. I use a daily coffee enema as well.

Dr. Weill offers the following advice on what to buy: "capsules containing an extract standardized to 70-8% silymarin. Milk thistle is non-toxic and can be taken indefinitely at the recommended dosage of 200 to 400 mg a day."

Here is what the American Botanical Council said about Milk thistle:

No known contraindications, possible side effect-a mild laxative, no known drug interactions. Do not use with pregnancy or lactation as this has not been studied.

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