Milk thistle (Silymarin marianum) is a well-known herbal therapeutic commonly used for liver support. It supports detoxification through enhancing liver as well as kidney and pancreatic function.

Detoxification, or "detox", often brings to mind a period of severely restricted diet or unpleasant treatments to induce diarrhea or vomiting, meant to empty or cleanse the GI system. Detox does not need to be dramatic to be successful. Slow and steady can win the race, especially in more fragile patients, such as the elderly or those undergoing chemotherapy, but also in day-to-day maintenance. Detox is a natural process for all living things, and the primary organs that carry out this process are the liver and kidneys. When these organs are fully functioning, optimal removal of toxic substances in the body occurs. Multiple herbs have been found to support this important work by protecting and supportying hepatic and renal function. These herbs include milk thistle as well as ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa), bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum), schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), turmeric (Curcuma longa), and many others.

Milk thistle (Silymarin marianum)

* most commonly known for its hepatoprotective effects
* a member of the Asteraceae family
* white veining in its green leaves and a classic purple thistle flower
* can be invasive in many areas
* is composed of several phytochemicals with important therapeutic actions
* these flavonoid complexes are strong antioxidants significantly contributing to the effectiveness of milk thistle
* has anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, immune-modulating, antifibrotic, and liver regenerating properties
* has potential therapeutic value in liver diseases, cancer, type-2 diabetes,and other conditions
* recent studies show significant reduction of liver damage risk and decreases in ALT/AST/ALP levels during therapy for tuberculosis
* benefits for renal and pancreatic function via protection against oxidative damage from nephrotoxic drugs, ie chemotherapy agents, gentamicin
* increases regeneration of pancreatic B cells in patients with metabolic syndrome, a concern when obesity, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia is present
* has a wide safety margin
* has few known side effects

The body is prepared to act dramatically through diarrhea and vomiting for extreme toxin exposures, but most of the time toxic exposures are more subtle and insidious. The liver and kidneys are the main detoxification organs, and they work quietly and diligently every day to get this important job done. Through careful selection of quality sources of specific herbs, including milk thistle, we have the ability to gently support the body in thes beautiful and complex process of ongoing detoxification and healing.

*reference taken from AHVMA Journal - Volume 57 Winter 2019

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