The Many Benefits of Milk Thistle in Anti Aging Supplements
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Here’s a look at the milk thistle benefits. Most consider it a weed, but herbalists and people “in the know” realize that it is a natural medicine. The benefits of milk thistle seeds have been recognized for over 2000 years. Modern research is beginning to support what traditional healers have always known.
Thousands of years ago, the healers in a society tested the safety of new plants on themselves. There is no way to determine how they learned about milk thistle benefits, probably through trial and error.
The most advanced of the traditional healers were the Ayurvedic practitioners that originated in India. They recognized the role played by various organs of the human body. One of the benefits of milk thistle is to promote liver health. It is prescribed by some herbalists to treat cirrhosis, jaundice and hepatitis. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend turmeric and black cumin seed for that purpose. Typically, they used a combination of herbs, rather than a single ingredient.
Other benefits of milk thistle have to do with the gall bladder. The gall bladder is considered a “non-vital” organ. People can easily live without it. But, the bile that is stored in the gall bladder is more concentrated than that found in the liver. Therefore, it is more effective for breaking down fats.
Removing the gallbladder, which is the mainstream medical treatment for diseases that affect it, puts more stress on the liver. Modern researchers have not looked at how milk thistle benefits the gallbladder, because diseases that affect it are not life-threatening. Most of today’s research is focused on cancer and heart disease.
A 2007 study showed that the benefits of milk thistle include protecting the cells of the heart from damage. Unlike some other cells of the body, when heart cells are damaged they do not regenerate. If too many cells die, we end up with heart failure. Another compound that is known to prolong the life of heart cells is resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, red grape skins and certain medicinal plants.
As for the milk thistle benefits in cancer prevention or treatment, research is still ongoing. Other plants, including green tea and curcumin are being studied as well. As most people know, the drugs that we have to treat cancer are not that effective and are accompanied by numerous side effects. Researchers are turning, once again, to ancient herbal remedies to find new solutions.
The benefits of milk thistle are believed to be due to the silymarin that it contains. Silymarin is a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. The value of natural anti-inflammatories cannot be overstated. Most people know that inflammation causes pain. But, chronic inflammation plays a role in heart disease and cancer.
The typical Western diet contributes to and increases inflammation. Most health experts recommend increasing your intake of natural anti-inflammatories to take some of the burden off of your body. Fruits, vegetables and plants of all kinds contain anti-inflammatory compounds. In effect, milk thistle benefits all of the cells of the body, by reducing inflammation.